Thursday, December 28, 2006

SCOOP

Woody Allen's new film SCOOP has barely registered on the radar this awards season, and with good reason. I have to wonder what happened to the Woody Allen who wrote ANNIE HALL. I'm not even sure what mood SCOOP was supposed to be. Woody's character is apparently meant to be funny, but only elicits a few smiles. Yet the plot of the film is about a serial killer on the loose in London.

Unlike CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS, which examines the psychology of a murderer while still being funny, or even MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY, which is occasionally funny, this film has no depth and little humor. The writing is terrible. All of the characters are weak and one-dimensional. Scartlett Johansson, who is usually worth watching as an actress, is outright terrible here; it's as though there were no director on the film. Hugh Jackman is passable until the final act, then becomes a cliche at the hands of Allen's writing.

Worst of all are the plot machinations necessary to give Woody screen time with Johannson. It's clear the movie was written only to put the two of them together after her appearance in MATCH POINT, which was overrated. It got good reviews for a mundane melodrama. Johansson's performance in that film was better until the third act, when the character change made it a soap opera for her.

It's such a shame that Woody can't bring a good script to the screen again.
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