There is nothing wonderful here, apart from Kate Winslet.
Set in 1950s Coney Island, Wonder Wheel tells the story of Ginny (Winslet), a failed actress in an unhappy marriage who works as a waitress beside the amusements. When her husband's (Belushi) estranged daughter from a previous marriage (Temple) turns up on their doorstep on the run from her gangster husband, Ginny finds herself engaged in an affair with a local lifeguard and aspiring playwright (Timberlake), who also narrates proceedings.
There is a theatre-like quality to the film from the way it's staged to the dialogue, and the tendency for everything to be just that bit too larger than life for the screen. Its technical elements are very impressive, but it would be better suited to the stage.
Kate Winslet is a powerhouse and even though she delivers a worthy performance, her character flip-flops between being impressively detached from reality and the kind of 'silly woman' stereotype that just doesn't cut it on screen anymore. She is so dynamic that at times her downward spirals into neuroses, jealousy and paranoia are enjoyable to watch, but as the film progresses it grows tiresome.
This is down to Allen's writing, which is an overarching flaw of the entire film. There is no originality here, or nuance. If a character is feeling something, they tell you, or the narrator does. It's less about what a look can convey, than making sure an idea is very wordily explored.
Watch our interview with Kate Winslet and Jim Belushi:
As a wannabe playwright, the narrator's language is, and should be, more flowery and descriptive than conversational, but it becomes too much when the dialogue of every character in every scene is trying so hard to be more than it is.
You feel as though Ginny is treating her life as a great play she was never cast in as an aspiring actress, engaging the drama and becoming a parody of herself in the process, and that Mickey is weaving the story, using his narrative to ponder morality and the human condition at length. That may work in an artistic sense on paper, but it is less impressive on the screen.
Winslet, Timberlake and Temple do their best to embody their characters, but Belushi is just loud, brutish and extremely one-note, and it's nobody's best work.
While it feels as though very little actually happens, and it's all quite drawn out, the film looks absolutely incredible. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro did a beautiful job.
It all takes place in the shadows of the Coney Island Wonder Wheel, but a trip to the fair would be a more entertaining gambit than Woody Allen's latest effort.
Watch our interview with Justin Timberlake and Juno Temple: