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Movie Review: Curse of the Jade Scorpian

Story: All artists have periods of lesser work. I think writer and director Woody Allen is in one of those modes. The year is 1940 - the place, New York City. Allen is the crack investigator of an insurance company who meets his nemesis in the newly hired female efficiency expert. There are supposed to be shades of a Tracy-Hepburn, love/hate relationship between the two, but it did not work for me at all. Calling one another silly names does not necessarily create the desired chemistry, particularly for the 66 year old Allen who probably should give up trying to be the love interest in his own films. He is NOT Cary Grant. Don't get me wrong, I am a BIG fan of Allen's and will always go to see his films, but he looks very awkward as the love interest. There is also a shady hypnotist, with ulterior motives, who creates the general mayhem in the film. The biggest problem with the film is that the story and script stink and most of the jokes fell flat. I did get my half dozen belly laughs but mostly I was trying to see my watch. The problem was that in his efforts to recreate the 1940s, the film was very dark, with mostly interior shots. There was never any daylight for me to see if time had actually stood still in the movie theater. A snoozer!

Acting: Helen Hunt is just plain annoying. Woody Allen was less stammering and flailing that usual but still looked mighty uncomfortable. Everyone else was underutilized including Dan Ackroyd, Wallace Shawn and David Ogden Stiers.

Critters: None.

Food: Mostly booze and lots of it.

Visual Art: Lots of wonderful interior shots of wild patterned wallpaper and floor coverings. The art on the walls was mostly black and white etchings.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Typical Woody Allen and enjoyable.

Opening Titles: Typical black and white Woody Allen.

Theater Audience: Four other Woody Allen fans.

Sappy Factor: Medium.

Squirm Scale: Some really bad male-female banter that was probably 40's okay but was squirmy in 2001.

Predictability Level: High

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: Too much to cover here.

Big Screen or Rental: I am now going to list my favorite Woody Allen films for you to rent or see on TV. Sweet And Lowdown (1999), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Bullets Over Broadway (1994), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), Alice (1990), Crimes And Misdemeanors (1989), Radio Days (1987), Hannah And Her Sisters (1986), Purple Rose of Cairo, (1985), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Zelig (1983),Manhattan (1979), Annie Hall (1977), The Front, (1976), Love And Death (1975), Sleeper (1973), Play It Again, Sam (1972), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask (1972), Bananas (1971),Take the Money And Run (1969)

Length: 100 minutes (but seemed like an eternity).