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May 26th, 2006:
A young, aspiring journalist (Scarlett Johansson
), currently writing for her college paper, travels to London on vacation to visit some of her friends. A stroke of luck has her stumbling onto a scoop of a lifetime. She has good reason to believe that a famous British aristocrat (Hugh Jackman
) is guilty of committing several recent murders. Eventually, she encounters a hapless American magician (Woody Allen
), who shares her suspicions. The two partner-up together as a fake father-daughter team in order to try and get closer to their suspect. Since their initial suspicions are mocked by others and the nature of the case is so sensitive, the two decide to keep their investigation secret. To complicate all matters, however, the young woman begins to fall in love with the dashing suspect.What to Expect:
The new millennium has not been kind to the legendary, although sometimes uneven director late in his career. Since his admirable 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown and his entertaining 2000 comedy Small Time Crooks, Allen has struggled with four consecutive routine movies that have met with a tad more criticism than praise. You would probably need to look back another couple of decades to find the director in top form, when he was making his masterpieces on a consistent basis. The fact that he is a rather active artist, releasing exactly one film per year since the indispensable 1977 comedy Annie Hall, isnít helping him either as all the disappointments just seem to pile up, burying the cream of the crop underneath. However, Allenís best work will forever be his and his status as an important American filmmaker is undeniable and irreversible. Even the weakest films from the most talented directors contain some small shred of genius, which can provide a more rewarding experience than any average movie. Article continues below
It seems that Woody Allen has found his two latest muses Ė Scarlett Johansson and London. Both were essential pieces in Allenís last film, Match Point, which is arguably one of his best in the past couple of decades. The intricately woven psychological drama was one of last yearís most diabolical thrillers, showing Allen in top form and earning him a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination. Itís no surprise then that the filmmaker chose London for the setting and Johansson as one of the leads in his latest offering. Scoop will mark Allenís second consecutive film set in London, with a third one to follow shortly. Typically known for his New York locations, the director recently cancelled a project in Paris to work on the still untitled third British production. That film will star Colin Farrell
, Ewan McGregor
, Tom Wilkinson
, and an already cast, but still unnamed actress Ė perhaps Johansson again.
Speaking of Johansson, she has truly taken off in the past couple of years, becoming one of Hollywoodís hottest actresses, while still only 21 years old. Later this year, you will be able to see her in two other projects for high profile directors, The Black Dahlia
and The Prestige
. She is still more famous as a celebrity than as a great actress, but Match Point may have marked her best performance to date. So far, her sad eyes and pouty lips have been her best assets (besides her physical appearance) so Iím not sure how she will fare in a quirky Woody Allen comedy, but the director seems set on her at this point. One of the hottest male stars at the moment is Hugh Jackman, who will costar with Johansson in Scoop as well as The Prestige. Iím not even going to discuss all of his future projects so just click on his name and find out yourself. Now, I know that he can play an aristocrat after his charming, Golden Globe nominated turn in Kate & Leopold as a comical and debonair 19th Century gentleman, who becomes stuck in the 21st Century. In Scoop, his character also seems to dabble in politics and act like a bit of a playboy and I think Jackman will know how to have some fun with that. The filmís most amusing part, on paper at least, appears to be the one that Woody Allen has given himself. He should be ideal for the lousy magician, yet another neurotic failure of a man.
Although Scoop shares a main star and the central location with Match Point, it appears to share none of the sophistication. When Allen throws himself into the mix on screen, usually you can expect one of his typically oddball comedies. Itís a totally different picture altogether, more along the lines of The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Hollywood Ending, Anything Else, and other lighthearted comedies that have not worked favorably for Allen lately. However, as simple as some of those films may have been, Allen is still able to make them insightful. In Scoop, he will balance three of his favorite genres: comedy, mystery, and romance. The result should be another simple, lighthearted, insightful, and entertaining comedy that will divide the fans and the critics right down the middle.In Conclusion:
In a recent interview, Hugh Jackman admitted that he has just seen a finished print of the movie and found it very funny. Thatís a relatively meaningless factoid, but I still thought I would share it. Scoop is probably going to represent Woody Allen in the most familiar of territories Ė a pleasant and eccentric little comedy, with a little bit of wit and intelligence behind it. Those types of films have been disasters for Allen at the box office lately and I would not be surprised if the same happens with Scoop. The film will probably offer some good escapist entertainment, but will make little noise in a summer filled with blockbusters.Similar Titles: Small Time Crooks
, Anything Else