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  Publicity Stills of "Scoop"
(Courtesy from Festive Films)

Genre: Romance/Comedy
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen, Ian McShane
RunTime: -
Released By: GV and Festive Films
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 5 October 2006

Synopsis :

SCOOP is the second film Woody Allen shot in London with Scarlett Johansson after "Match Point". SCOOP is a mystery romantic comedy where an American journalist intern (Johansson) tries to uncover of a mysterious serial killer. Could the killer really be this elegant, charming English aristocrat (Jackman) ?

Movie Review:

Free from the shackles of proving his worth to a new generation of moviegoers after his noir-drama (with the barest morsel of comedy) in “Match Point”, he’s once again piercing through the British upper crust with a knife and serving it up on his new favourite dish in Scarlett Johansson. After showing that he still had the chops to please audiences and critics alike, he now takes on a lighter and more playful farce (that can often be the most difficult genre to pull off) with the same thematic alignments of “Match Point”.

Adopting London as his new New York, Allen headlines his own comedic return as an anachronistic, uncouth vaudevillian magician, summing up his Sidney Waterman “persona” who’s caught up way over his head. He’s foreign in more ways than one, when it comes to past that no one in the film really knows what to make of him. Still carrying out his old school awkwardness, he’s now a self-parody that’s more out of touch than misanthropic. Baffling to say the least.

But it’s an unwelcome transition of sorts for Allen. It’s a self-aware Woody Allen practising his own shtick in front of the lens’s reflection while taking himself out of the leading man equation where every plot thread used to run through his character. Now, he’s just become a passing witness to his patented spiel.

He’s the Woody Allen that has lost his innocent, endearing neurosis and his refreshingly simplistic view of big city living. As his nervous tic becomes part of his character trait, he is still undoubtedly the biggest attraction in the film, even as his dire, recycled punchlines fall flat and his co-stars inattentively follow suit in an uneven throwback to 40s and 50s comedy fare.

Johansson takes on Lois Lane’s intrepidity with a side of enthusiasm instead of journalistic talent. Hiding her radiant beauty and killer body behind frappy sweaters and large glasses, she relinquishes class for a touch of sniveling naiveté and an almost innocent triviality for sexual relations while not being adverse to using her “feminine wiles” to get what she wants. Hugh Jackman plays Hugh Jackman in “Kate and Leopold”, as in a handsome, charismatic Brit who’s able to charm the pants of anyone. But as mentioned earlier, Woody Allen steals the show from anyone of these guys and unfortunately that’s not really saying plenty. They are now part of the classic Woody Allen set-ups, but without any of the crutches that he used to afford his co-stars.

Allen lingers on the comedy in scenes instead of propelling the story from point A to point B. He’s no longer interested in building on his characters and their ardent relationships as much as he is interested in feeding off the sparks from their flintlock interactions, just to find something funny out of anything. He directs through his script and more pointedly, the dialogue and actions by building on our morbid fascination with his self-destructive charm act.

London’s a full fledged character here and it’s even more pronounced this time as its idiosyncrasies become an obstacle for the conspicuously coarse Allen and his young, nubile protagonist in the world of constipated British high society that only a New Yorker could have possibly envision. Even while saying nothing worth saying in particular, Allen shares an inside joke with the audience about generational gaps and aging, possibly about his uninteresting interest in the lives of younger, affluent people and the extreme moral ambiguities they face.

Movie Rating:

(Woody Allen is a comedy stalwart that can never be successfully imitated - not even by himself)

Review by Justin Deimen


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