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Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Directed by
: Woody Allen
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen, Ian McShane
Released by: Focus Features

In 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 London.

Say It Ain't So!
Woody Allen Loses His Comedic Touch with “Scoop”
By Jenny Peters

Is 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 loud.

Instead 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.

It’s 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.

If “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.


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