Magic in Moonlight posterI adore both Colin Firth and Emma Stone. Just not together – in this particular movie. Perhaps writer/director Woody Allen didn’t see anything wrong with the obvious age difference (he’s 53; she’s 25) and lack of chemistry between the two stars. But for me, it took the magic out of Magic in the Moonlight, a romantic comedy period piece that drags where it could and should have soared.

Firth plays an arrogant and cynical master magician who travels to the south of France in the 1920s to help a friend expose a young American psychic medium (Stone) as a fake. But try as he might – he can’t figure out her game. Eventually he comes to the realization that she could be the real deal… as a psychic, and as a romantic interest.

Firth is fun to watch and delivers the witty dialogue with his typical dash of Darcy. Stone dishes out as good as she gets, emanating a wide-eyed appeal that makes her both sympathetic and believable. But together, I dunno, it kind of borders on icky – especially since she’s also caught the eye of a much more age-appropriate rich guy who serenades her with his ukulele. Who can resist that? Okay, maybe that’s not the point… Anyway…

Woody Allen fans will recognize the tone of the movie. It’s got a Midnight in Paris kind of vibe and incorporates the setting – the opulent French Riviera – as a bit of a character unto itself, and the solid supporting cast is comically quirky. But it doesn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi that propelled Midnight in Paris into the mainstream. It’s a fine if somewhat lackluster flick for fans of Allen, Firth and/or Stone. But I wouldn’t call it magical – in the moon or any other light.

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