Cruz-Ial Viewing! Penelope Shines in Sexy Comedy

Article excerpt

Byline: conor nolan

WITH Britain deep in snow, Woody Allen provides us with a warm, sexy Mediterranean treat.

He is back to his very best with this sensual, sophisticated comedy.

And his cast-Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and the seriously adorable Rebecca Hall - all give star turns.

Using the beauty of Barcelona as his backdrop, Allen paints a rich canvass that focuses on two young Americans on holiday.

Vicky (Hall) is an uptight, sensible individual planning her career and marriage, and Cristina (Johansson) is a carefree, flighty, blonde looking for fun.

A chance encounter leads the two girls to fall for the charms of fiery painter Juan Antonio (Bardem)who persuades them to go with him to the town of Oviedo, where he attempts to seduce them.

In time, the willing Cristina moves in with him.

And when Vicky expresses her disappointment, he points out that as she's engaged, it would cause needless pain for everyone if they continued their affair.

As Cristina and Juan Antonio settle into a dreamy life together, he is awakened one night by an alarming phone call.

His ex-wife Maria Elena (the show stopping Cruz) is at the hospital after a suicide bid. …