I really enjoyed the first and second acts, which had a lot of Allen's brilliant intellectual humour, and was hoping for something memorable in the final, but it was disappointingly flat. I think that if you're going to make a film about Paris in the 1920s and literally litter it with some of the greatest artists of the century, and if you happen to be Woody Allen, then the audience could be forgiven for having quite high expectations. Surprisingly, for all its high-brow ingredients, the film actually has a relatively mid-brow aim, and it may be that's the reason why it was met with disappointment by some critics and fans.
Yes, I was disappointed. I expected a more coherent plot. I expected Rachel McAdams to be able to act. I expected to be believe that Owen Wilson was a struggling writer (he is a decent enough actor, though), but despite that, the film is enjoyable - it is best enjoyed with low expectations. It's just a middle-of-the-road Woody Allen comedy, in which he replays many of his familiar old tropes (intellectualism, art, relationships, politics) against a backdrop of glamorous 1920s Paris instead of New York.
The biggest disappointment is that the giant 1920s characters are all reduced to fleeting comedic cameos. It seemed as though Tom Hiddleston's F Scott Fitzgerald barely got in more than a "Hello, Old Sport" before being shoved aside by Hemingway, who in turn gave way to Picasso, and so on... And certainly don't expect any of these fleeting comedic cameos to give any brilliant insight into the artist's work or the meaning of life - they are just there for laughs - because this is a comedy film.
But when reviewing a film we are supposed to be reviewing what the film is, not what we wanted it to be, or what we think it could have been. That's why I give it four stars - it's a good 90 minutes, with some good laughs.