SCOOP

(2006)
With Woody Allen, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane
Directed by Woody Allen
Reviewed by JB

Woody can't find The Sorrow and The Pity playing anywhere in town     SCOOP will never be mistaken for one of Woody Allen's most original films.  Parts of it will remind you of BROADWAY DANNY ROSE, THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, his "Oedipus Wrecks" short from NEW YORK STORIES, and MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY.  Not to mention that the setting (upper crust English society), the main plot point (murder) and the leading lady (Scarlett Johansson) were all part of his previous film MATCH POINT.

     So what?  All of the films mentioned were good Woody Allen films, and SCOOP, while not on the level of MATCH POINT, is a sweet, funny film that shows that, even at his age, Allen can still be amusing as the hapless schlub he's been playing ever since TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN.  The main situation - magician Allen and college reporter Johansson go undercover to investigate a possible serial killer - is really an excuse for Allen to fumble and bluster his way through English society armed with a nifty collection of fresh jokes ("I don't need to exercise.  My anxiety works like aerobics.")  

     His current favorite leading lady, Scarlett Johansson, is not Diane Keaton, and she doesn't have the personality to deliver all of the jokes Allen gives her with complete conviction.  However, she's quite good as Allen's straight woman anyway, giving him the room he needs to hurl his throwaway lines in all directions. It's one of her most spirited performances, far removed from the sultry loner image she has been honing since LOST IN TRANSLATION.  A few more films with him as co-star and maybe she will finally fulfill the promise she showed in that film and GHOST WORLD

     Coming on the heels of the excellent MATCH POINT, SCOOP may be just a bit of fluff, but it is Woody Allen fluff, which, even in 2006, is still good enough for a few solid laughs. 3½ - JB

Woody Allen     The Stuff You Gotta Watch


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