Starring: Woody Allen, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Although theatrically released in 2006, this is the first time Woody Allen’s SCOOP has come to the Home Entertainment format in the UK and whether it’s playing on the back of the success of Jackman and Johansson, it seems a strange title as it’s one of his weaker movies despite sparks of the classic, clever wit.
SCOOP has a more peculiar setup than usual, whereas in some contexts it could be a lot of fun, the film feels ten years older than it actually is. In the film, Allen plays old school illusionist Splendini, real name Sid Waterman, who has a show on the London stage with an act that basically consists of card tricks and making someone disappear in a wardrobe. During an opening gambit, Scarlett Johansson’s young journalist Sondra Pransky is called up on stage and put in the box. But, while in there, Ian McShane’s investigative journalist Joe Strombel, recently deceased in the fictional world, appears to Sondra from the world of the recently dead and gives her information about a serial killer. He’s known as the Tarot Killer and he had proof that it’s actually successful English socialite Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) but because Strombel is dead, he can’t finish the story and wants someone else to take it on.
Even though Pransky is inexperienced and only works for her University newspaper, she picks up Allen’s Waterman and they start to investigate the story to see if it’s true. Through various set pieces and decent moments in this ‘murder comedy’, Johansson starts to fall in love with Jackman’s Lyman and his alibi’s appear to prove that it’s not him after all. There are really good moments among this hashed together piece and some classic Woody Allen work including the unforgettable lines ‘I was born into the Hebrew persuasion, but when I got older I converted to narcissism’, and also one I liked ‘You worm your way in like a rodent or a roach, and as the crumbs fall off the table, you collect them and we analyse them,’ but beyond that it’s a bit of muddle despite hard-working Scarlett getting her character right and to the point.
The whole setup feels like it should have been a short rather than dragged out to a feature-length movie and luckily, MATCH POINT and VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA are also on her impressive resume. Despite my general reservations, the ensemble cast are all notable but it just didn’t pull me in. So is this one a real SCOOP for everyone? Not so much. It’s more of a scrape of some tasty morsels without any additional surprises.
[usr=2] SCOOP is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, pick up it up here.