Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen, Ian
Released by: Focus Features
Short: Once again, 70-year-old Woody Allen
proves that comedy is a young man’s game,
with this not-funny-for-a-moment film set in
Say It Ain't So!
Allen Loses His Comedic Touch with “Scoop”
there anything more disappointing than going to see a
comedy that isn’t funny at all, especially one created
by a once masterful comedic actor-writer-director? Not
in our book. With memories of Woody Allen’s classic
flicks rattling in our heads—“Bananas,”
“Play It Again, Sam,” “Manhattan,”
and his Academy Award-winning effort “Annie Hall”—hopes
were high for “Scoop.” It’s Allen’s
return to the genre after getting serious with “Match
Point” last year; unfortunately, the old master
has lost his touch when it comes to making us laugh out
of merely directing Johansson as he did in “Match
Point,” Allen stars with her in "Scoop"
as a mirror-image pair of bumbling would-be journalists
after a big story. He’s a magician named Sid Waterman,
she’s a college student called Sondra Pransky, and
together they wander across London trying to prove that a British aristocrat (played by an
often shirtless Hugh Jackman, the only good thing about
the movie) is actually a serial killer. Their pursuit
is egged on by a recently deceased crack reporter played
by Ian McShane, who appears to both of them in ghostly
visions, offering up clues to the aristocrat’s guilt.
a premise that could be funny, but in the hands of the
aged Woody Allen (he’s 70), it becomes a slow, talky,
and—dare we say it?—boring meander. It conclusively
proves the theory that comedy is a young man’s game,
cementing the idea that the older and more successful
comedians get, somehow that spark of genius is lost. Even
during the few (and far between) moments when one of the
characters actually says something clever, it’s
tough to come out of the coma you’ve settled into
to let out a laugh.
“Scoop” had been Woody Allen’s first
movie, it is unlikely we’d have ever seen another.
But happily it’s his 40th, so remember that there
are plenty of his truly great films to be seen and enjoyed,
all available on DVD. It’s just that “Scoop”
is not one of them, unfortunately.