Magic in the Moonlight is Woody Allen’s latest European summer fling, this time set on the French Mediterranean coast in the late 1920s. An insufferable egotist of a stage magician (Colin Firth in stuffed-shirt mode) is called in to debunk a supposedly bogus spiritualist (a sprightly and insubstantial Emma Stone) preying on wealthy English expats. Naturally, he falls in love with her instead (not a spoiler — you’ll know from the first time they meet).
The clothes and cars look swell, everyone does a fine job with their roles, much of the BBC Repertory Theatre fills the background, and the scenery is lovely. Too bad the writing doesn’t live up to it. What there is of Firth’s and Stone’s chemistry seems imposed rather than discovered; Firth’s wild second- and third-act attitude changes serve the plot, not the character. It doesn’t help that Stone is half Firth’s age and plays even younger…but it is a Woody Allen film, after all.
Not Match Point or Vicky Christina Barcelona, but charming enough if you don’t need it to make sense.