'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.