Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The girl is all of twenty-one years old and she already has amassed a list of credits which rival veterans who have been in the business as long as she has been alive.  Scarlett Johansson is hot, and I venture to say, at this time, it doesn’t have much to do with her acting ability which isn’t quite as well developed as the rest of her is.

Legendary auteur Woody Allen returns to comedy after creating the dark but very effective Match Point also starring the lovely Ms. Johansson.  Scarlet is Sondra Pransky, a college hygienist student / new paper journalist who is ‘blessed’ with the story of the century by recently deceased ace reporter Joe Strombel (Ian McShane).  Joe pops in and out from the netherworld, desperately attempting to evade the grim reaper to give clues to Sondra and her sidekick Sid ‘the Great Panini’ Waterman (Woody Allen), a slick dime store magician, about news that high flying British socialite Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) just may be the notorious Tarot Card serial killer.  Things become complicated when Sondra predictably falls for the ultra smooth, ultra handsome, ultra wealthy businessman, despite the mounting clues that he may actually be the dreaded serial killer.

‘Scoop’ has a bit of a ‘Purple Rose of Cairo’ flavor to it with Mr. McShane providing the supernatural feel that ‘Cairo’ had.  Woody Allen also reprises the roles he played so often in his previous films as the hyper, angst ridden, fast talking Jewish shyster with mixed results.  Mostly funny, but sometimes… well… the man is seventy years old.  Overall, it seemed Allen was going for a Nick and Nora Charles ‘Thin Man’ type of angle, with over the top situations, fast pacing, quick editing and rapid fire dialog,

but what prevents this from being completely successful, in my opinion, is the stunningly beautiful, shockingly voluptuous, Scarlet Johansson.  I don’t whether it was that her timing was off, or maybe her direction was lacking, but in scenes that required that certain snap crackle and pop, it ended up being slow, slack and sleepy.  She’s not a waste in the movie now, as she plays the over her head goofy college student thing to it’s hilt, but I’m thinking there may be another young actress out there who could have done a much more credible job at channeling Audrey Hepburn than Scarlett did.

Ah but the other actress probably doesn’t look nearly as good wet as Scarlett does.  In Matchpoint, Scarlet has one scene where she gets to run around in wet shirt, and Woody being Woody figures, if he can get away with one wet shirt in that flick, let’s try two in this one, and two we get.  You GO Woody.  If Scarlett signs on to do another Woody Allen film, it’ll probably take place under a waterfall.  Still, ‘Scoop’ was genuinely enjoyable for the most part and fans of Woody Allen should be pleased that he still has his old touch.  And Soon-Yi, even though your old man is seventy, I’d seriously keep an eye on him next time Scarlet is in town.

Real Time Web