Oh yeah, there’s films I’ve seen, Part 1
SCOOP (Woody Allen, Britain, 2006, 5)
It’s morally refreshing that Woody casts himself opposite a comely blonde 50 years his junior … and does not write himself into bed with her. And by the standards of recent Woody, “5” is actually a good movie, though obviously not the brilliant MATCH POINT. Some of the lines fall flat — the one in the trailer about “hitting our two heads together” clangs even worse in context. Neither the solution to the Tarot Card killer mystery nor why Woody becomes a part of Scarlett’s sleuthing scheme makes sense (in MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY, which this films resembles in many respects, Woody’s character was married to Diane Keaton’s ball of energy).
But there is quite a bit to like. It’s as if Allen is trying to make a Hitchcock movie, only succeeding much more than he did with Bergman in INTERIORS, Murnau-Lang in SHADOWS AND FOG and Fellini in STARDUST MEMORIES. It’s a bit lighter than most of Hitchcock, but Scarlett Johansson does (yawn) a very good job in a role that’s three parts the classic heedless screwball-comedy heroine (Keaton in MMM), to one part Hitchcockian blonde. She’s turned “Up” a little here from her usual placidity, but that seems appropriate for an American college student pursuing the story of her life. Hugh Jackman drips charm off his fingertips (more Hitch). There’s a lengthy scene involving getting into a cellar to hunt for clues (that’s NOTORIOUS).
If you can get past its basic unbelievability, the script holds your attention — the clues drop in at all the right moments. Even Woody himself — an atrocious actor by any standard — profits from playing someone intentionally buffoonish and ridiculous, so even his 50-year-old jokes kinda “work” when they don’t. Not much more here than a great episode of McMILLAN AND WIFE (plus for me the chance to meet G-Money in person, who has a really strong review of it here), but that’s still way better than ANYTHING ELSE or CELEBRITY.
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