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Movie Review: Scoop

Alternate Title: I See Dead People

Story: Director and writer Woody Allen can still make me laugh. Yes, he has not done exceptional work in quite awhile but this time out - he did make me laugh. And on a unbearably hot NYC day, that worked for me.

Like Match Point, this film is set in London and many of the usual ingredients in a Woody Allen film are included. The gentried class, the crass Americans, the beautiful young thing, the budding romance, class conflict, vaudeville comedy shtick and this time out we have a serial killer on the loose.

Our heroine, while volunteering in a magic show, sees the spirit of a recently deceased reporter who tells her she could have the scoop of her young professional life. He tips her off as to who the serial killer is and off she and Allen go to try to figure out the details. Needless to say there is confusion, sight gags and for those long time Woody Allen fans like me, a very comfortable film.

Is it his best work? Certainly not. But if you have missed the old Woody Allen, this film comes close to delivering what you hanker for.

Acting: Woody Allen has become a Woody Allen impersonator. He stutters, flails as usual but has some of the funniest one liners I have heard in a long time. Scarlet Johansson is more than adequate as our cub reporter and sort of grows into the part as the film progresses. Hugh Jackman was just fine as the upper class son of a Lord who might be the serial killer. Ian McShane as the ghost was good too.

Predilection: I like Woody Allen films.

Critters: None

Food: Indian food, Nan bread and prawns

Opening Titles: The standard Woody Allen white type on a black background.

Visual Art: Lots of fine art displayed in the gentried households.

Theater Audience: The twenty of so people in the audience laughed heartily. Perhaps it was because we all got in for free - I don't know for sure. When I arrived at the theater there was an angry crowd of about 50 people in the air conditioned lobby of the theater. The manager was stuck in traffic and the staff did not know what to do. They couldn't open the cash registers, turn on the escalators or even make the decision whether to show the films. I suggested we all pay when we leave. I was ignored. Finally the manager told the staff to just let us all in for free. It was a very Woody Allen-esque moment.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I drifted a bit during the too talky moments.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Either will do.

Length: Under two hours.