Thursday, August 13, 2009
Scoop; Crime comedy, USA, 2006; D: Woody Allen, S: Scarlett Johansson, Woody Allen, Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane, Charles Dance
London. Famous reporter Joe Strombel died, but his ghost appears in front of the journalist student Sondra Pransky during an on stage magic act by magician Sidney, and tells her a sensational scoop - the respected nobleman Peter Lyman is a killer. In order to investigate, Sondra and Sidney present themselves as rich daughter and father, enter the club and meet Peter. Sondra believes he is innocent, but it turns out he actually killed a prostitute because she blackmailed him into giving her more and more money. He wants to drown Sondra, but is caught by the police. Sidney though dies in a car crash.
When Woody Allen has inspiration, his brilliant writing and jokes easily overshadow his mannerisms in movies where we are ready to gladly look pass them just to enjoy the experience, but when his writing skills are appeased, his cliches become more apparent and stand out like a sore thumb. "Scoop" is one of Allen's lesser films, a crime comedy flick that seems more like an exercise than like a fully fleshed out story, though its still easily watchable. In it, his mannerisms are again apparent: for some reason, he made Scarlett Johansson's character Sondra act like a female version of Woody Allen, making her wear glasses, whine and make nervous hand gesticulation. And he acted like himself, too. The thin and overstretched story doesn't manage to make the crime plot intense, creating a flick that seems like Agatha Christie in slow-motion, though a few neat dialogues still have that old Allen charm, like in the exposition where the ghost of the deceased reporter Joe Strombel is sailing on the ship on the barge of death and introduces himself to some lady: "Hello. Joe Strombel, Coronary Thrombosis" or the ending that was quite surprising and untypical, though it could have been much more extravagant.