When I saw that the local theatre was showing Woody allen's newest flick I couldn't pass up the chance to see it. Their track record with movies like this isn't exactly excellent, they're usually gone by week's end.
Scoop, like Allen's last few films, seems much more an experiment in moviemaking and genre-bending than an actual film. Match Point being the only real success there. The plot is pretty thin and just downright goofy, much like Melinda and Melinda, but Allen can always infuse his brand of humor into anything he makes, so it is damn funny. Having a fantastic cast on board didn't hurt either. It was nice to see him avoid one of the major problems I've had with a lot of his films, and that's making himself the hero/love interest of the story. Thankfully that seems to have ended with Hollywood Ending, which I'll admit to loving the hell out of despite that nitpick. Scarlett Johansson makes a good foil for Allen's neurosis, and the two play off each other surprisingly well. It's kind of startling to see her go from sultry seductress in Match Point to such a plain jane type of character she plays here. Not bad, I assure you, it just shows the lady has some acting chops and does not need to rely on her looks. Hugh Jackman though is almost a waste here. He enhabits the character just fine but there's not much for him to do other than meet his marks. The real moments in the movie come from the Allen/Scarlett chemistry. It's very Monk-ish, routine but oh so hilarious. Speaking of wastes, Ian McShane serves less of a purpose than Jackman, in fact his involvement in the story could have easily been written out. Which leads me back to my point about experimenting. Allen made a ghost story and a muder mystery and wrapped it up in a comedy.
It's not a bad film, not at all. In fact if you've liked any of his fliks from the last several years I'd recommend it. It has a very Abbott & Costello feel to it, only without the slapstick. It's certainly funny, it just doesn't have the genre-defining feel to it that Match Point had. But, in all fairness, how many films like that can one man make during his career?
Oh, and interesting little side note: Allen has directed 41 films in 40 years. I've probably only seen 10 of those, but geez, is there any more productive director in Hollywood?