Thursday, July 27, 2006


Woody Allen’s been in a slow decline for a long time now. Most would say his last great comedy was Deconstructing Harry, way back in 1997. And that his last great drama was — depending on who you ask — Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989, or possibly last year’s Match Point. For my money, Match Point was a brilliant and cynical update of Crimes, and a welcome return to form. The preview for Scoop seemed slight and sitcomy, but I was optimistic. Maybe one of the pivotal American directors of the last half-century was on his way back.

Turns out we should keep waiting. An exhaustingly perky young reporter named Sondra (Scarlett Johansson) is informed by the departed spirit of legendary journalist Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) that a British lord’s son (Hugh Jackman) may be a serial killer. She snoops around him with the assistance of a cheesy stage magician (Woody Allen, playing himself as always) and falls in love. The question lingers, is he or isn’t he? That and that alone is the weight of Scoop.


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