Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a homage to both Barcelona, and Gaudi's architectural vision, featuring beautiful people, passion and romance, fantastic shots of the city itself (suspiciously clean and pick pocket free), and an assortment of poets, artists and writers (and rich people). Who would make a film like this?
Two girl friends go to Barcelona for the summer. One (Cristina/Scarlett Johansson) is a spontaneous romantic dreamer who is always looking for something different to experience, but unsure of what, thinking that will make her happy. The other (Vicky/Rebecca Hall) is steady and pragmatic, is about to be married, and is in love.
They then meet Juan (Javier Bardem), a moody, intense, enigmatic painter (is there any other sort in these kind of films?) and both end up having an affair with him, despite his unstable ex wife (Maria/Penelope Cruz) moving back in with him (resulting in a menage a trois involving Cristina).
All well and good, but by the end, everyone ends up unfulfilled.
The painter and his ex wife love each other, but can't live together by themselves. Vicky falls for the painter, but then decides he is too crazy for her, so carries on with her marriage. Cristina, the romantic searcher, once happiness and contentment is attained, gets bored and decides she wants something else, and moves on, still searching for something to satisfy her wanderlust Even the old woman they have been staying with has an affair because she is bored.
An artificial portrait of life and romance, where no one is ugly or poor, the days are long and sun drenched, and there is always a local supremely talented musician to go and swoon to. There is love in the long grass, accidental shootings, and spontaneous trips away by private aeroplanes. It's got Woody Allen stamped all over it, and it is indeed, one of his.
I still enjoyed it, even if it did annoy me, as the characters and locations spoke nothing to me about my life (as Morrissey would say).