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'Scoop' Woody Allen Movie Review: Fluffy Comedy with Twists

'Scoop': Woody Allen fluffy comedy works – as a fluffy comedy

Though hardly one of Woody Allen's best comedies, the light-as-air Scoop is a perfectly enjoyable romp. The film's basic storyline has already been told countless times: investigator (here a journalist wanna-be named Sondra Pransky and played by Scarlett Johansson) falls for a suspected murderer who happens to be rich, handsome, and quite the seducer (Hugh Jackman) – but what sets Scoop apart from its predecessors, from Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion (will dashing husband Cary Grant murder wife Joan Fontaine?) to Joseph Ruben's Sleeping with the Enemy (will dashing husband Patrick Bergin chop off wife Julia Roberts' head?), is Allen's unique brand of quirkiness.

Scoop could have been even better had Woody Allen cast someone other than his latest muse, Scarlett Johansson, as the heroine. Though effective as the young seducer in Allen's socially conscious crime drama Match Point, Johansson is badly out of her element in comedy. Her mannerisms feel like an off-key imitation of the acting style of previous Allen leading ladies Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow, and even of Allen himself.

But despite this bit of central miscasting, the predictable plot, and the fact that Allen's timing is at times a little off, Scoop offered enough hilarious one-liners and silly little twists to keep this viewer entertained. After all, even a minor Woody Allen movie is considerably more intriguing than the best efforts by the vast majority of filmmakers out there.

Scoop (2006). Director and Screenplay: Woody Allen. Cast: Woody Allen, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Romola Garai, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally, Julian Glover, John Standing, Richard Johnson, Charles Dance, Victoria Hamilton, Anthony Head, Caroline Blakiston, Tina Rath, Matt Day, Fenella Woolgar, Carolyn Backhouse.

Woody Allen and Scarlett Johansson Scoop movie image: Focus Features.

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6 Comments to 'Scoop' Woody Allen Movie Review: Fluffy Comedy with Twists

  1. Andre

    John,
    Thanks for the comment.
    Pure fluff, yes — and forgettable. Minor Woody Allen, perhaps, but while watching “Scoop” I was actually having a good time…

  2. John Kerr

    I saw this film, yet I can't remember a single thing about it! I guess (to me) it's just another one of those countless, later Allen movies that seems like a shrug - from the filmmaker. Just killing time, until he comes up with a better idea. His filmmaking seems automatic now, just churning them out. His abysmal (mostly) films from the '90s finally broken by “Match Point,” a real winner - even if the plot was stolen, more or less, from “A Place in the Sun.” I really wonder why he keeps making films, since he has nothing new to say at all. Just a habit now for him, maybe. Very few “older” directors ever seemed to make films that are memorable, w/the glorious exception of Bunuel, & Altman w/”Gosford.” Maybe Allen will surprise us all, once again, someday.

  3. ikatu54

    Not the greatest, but a fun Woody Allen film. I don't know why some people thought it was so bad. Light stuff, but fun stuff. Woody doesn't have to be profound all the time.

  4. Andre

    I never cared for Scarlett Johansson until I saw her in “Match Point.” That's her only performance I've seen that I found effective. (Though I gotta admit that I haven't seen “The Perfect Score.”)

  5. Marcus Tucker

    Scarlett Johansson could be great in comedy but in the one comedy that I have seen her in, some teen flick about stealing test scores called creatively “The Perfect Score” she was very much out her element, and that came around the same time she was getting raves for Girl with the Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation. I think under the right guidance she has possibilities, something about her is very old school, and she could be great though, there's something there but she is still just a kid. I'll have to check out Scoop.

  6. Dan Schneider

    http://www.cosmoetica.com/B405-DES340.htm

    Actually, I disagree. Just saw the film this afternoon with my wife, and I thought Scarlett was much better at comedy. In Girl With A Pearl, Lost In Translation, and Match Point, I thought there was always something missing. In this film I thinks she's second only to Diane Keaton in the Woody comedienne pantheon. DAN