Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Review: Scoop

I like Woody Allen movies, generally speaking. Some of them are better than others, of course. Mighty Aphrodite and Anything Else, for example, are better than Everyone Says I Love You and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, though those have their moments too.

The difference is in how well the movies' themes and I connect with each other. In Mighty Aphrodite, I could relate to Woody's desire to help Mira Sorvino's character and to his confusing that desire with romantic attraction. In Anything Else, I identified with Jason Biggs' desperate need to hold on to what he's already comfortable with rather than bravely pursue something better, but uncertain. In contrast, Everyone Says I Love You is about rich people who sing and dance while meddling in each others lives, and Jade Scorpion is a cool homage to noir detective stories. They're both good; they're just not great. And Woody Allen always has the potential to be great.

Scoop also fails to live up to greatness. It's got a great premise in which a dead reporter uncovers a huge scoop on Charon's boat to Hades and uses a magician (Woody Allen) to help him contact a journalism student (Scarlett Johansson) so that he can feed her clues to solve and ultimately report the story. The scoop concerns the identity of a serial killer who may or may not be Hugh Jackman. Scarlett investigates and of course starts to fall for Wolverine.

Like Jade Scorpion, Scoop is a decent mystery, but Allen spends more time making the dialogue funny (and it is) than he does filling plot holes. I won't reveal the ending, but let it suffice to say that all questions are not answered by the time the credits roll. I also found myself very aware of Allen's preference for letting actors ad lib their way through scenes. That doesn't usually bother me in his films, but I was sensitive to it here for some reason. Maybe it was me, but maybe this cast just wasn't as adept at it as some others have been. As much as I like the cast, I can't say that I liked the movie and I don't recommend it unless you're just really itching to see a new Woody Allen film.

1 comment:

West said...

That last line pretty much sums up the impression I was left with after seeing the trailers.

Glad I passed.


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