Scoop Cover It is commonly well known, that to become a journalist, you have to kill ninety-seven green haired virgins called Stacey, then you have to rape a haddock, before finally painting your genetalia in sand. Or, if you want, watch this movie Directed by and Starring Woody Allen; with Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson. It was made in 2006 and lasts for 96 minutes.


English journalist, Joe Strombel (Ian McShane), is dead. However, while he is riding upon the ethereal plane, he finds out that rich aristocrat, Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman), is actually the tarot card serial killer. Therefore, he briefly dips down to Earth, and tell this information to budding young American journalist, Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson), whilst she is participating in a stage act with bumbling American magician, Sidney Waterman (Woody Allen).

No relation.

OK, so how do Sondra and Sidney use this news? As do they try to track down Peter? Yes – yes they do. Firstly, with a little help from Sondra’s friend, they manage to approach Peter while he is swimming at a private health spa, and dupe him into believing that Sondra and Sidney are both daughter and father – respectively – before he then invites them both his father mansion for a garden party on the following day. Next, whilst at this garden party, Sondra and Peter get closer as people, just as Sidney starts to charm his way into this echelon of higher privileged class. And finally, Sondra and Peter fall for each other – thus making Sondra doubt the news that he is the tarot card killer.

Opps, what a predicament!

Still, Sidney thinks otherwise, and he persists in nagging Sondra to investigate matters more closely – mainly due to him being met repeatedly by the deceased Joe Strombel. At a club where Peter plays cards – at Peters house – in Peters safe – and even when Sondra and Sidney have dinner together at a Chinese restaurant – they find clue after clue after clue that ties Peter to the crime that he is being accused of.


Eventually, though, this all comes to a head when Sondra and Sidney are told by a leading reporter that the real tarot card killer has been apprehended. Alas, this piece of news leads to a parting of ways – with Sondra into Peters arms – and Sidney into a world of investigation. What then transpires is a rather strange turn of events – as revelations are made – ploys are played – damsels are sprayed – and a car crash leads into the land that is never swayed.

Whose for a card trick?

OK, so it is Wolverine and Black Widow in Woody Allen’s interpretation of an English mystery – or ‘Scoop’ the film as it is more generality known as. In essence, this movie is Woody’s venture into his love for all things English, and it gives him the opportunity to show a more European flair within his style of filmmaking. Also, in addition to this, it is his venture into ‘Scarlett Johansson’ film related roles too, where he is able to transpose his vision upon this visage of American beauty, thus giving her a voice that only Woody can give – funky.

Personally speaking, though, this does not always seem to work well within this film – and, in places, Scarlett just feels like the token ‘female’ that men pine over. Plus, not to seem overly judgmental in this matter, but Woody’s style of comedy is something that is genetic in nature – and she does come across as the ‘straight man’ within most of the scenes they are in together. Moreover, the love story in this film does not seem to work either – it feels more forced than usual – staged even.

Sexy Scarlett in Scoop

Still, whilst saying all of that, Scarlett does have great screen presence, and you can hardly keep your eyes off of her whenever she is in frame. Heck, I can say the same for Hugh Jackman too – even if he does come across as a Hugh Grant rip off.

My favourite segments in ‘Scoop’ are the scenes in which Woody is being Woody – because he mumbles and sputters his way through the numerous functions he attends, just spouting stuff and nonsense that is just funny to the ear. Now these – for me – are the highlight of this film, and they are worth the price of admittance alone. OK, the rest of it isn’t that bad either – it is just that the story seems to meander in places, and the overall transposition of reality from an unknown world does not seem to work at all.

Maybe this has something to do with Woody not working within his usual New York milieu, and that him being in ‘Blighty’ may have impeded his judgement a little?

Wolverine, Black Widow, and Woody in Scoop

Listen now, do not get me wrong, ‘Scoop’ is a very watchable film throughout. However, you can tell sparingly that things do not seem to click in the way that they should click. Sometimes, the acting seems overt – the transitions feel fragmented – the plot isn’t developed – and the complete package is a bit strained. 

But if you are a fan of either Woody, Scarlett, or Hugh – or alternately a fan of films made by the likes of Richard Curtis, Mel Smith, or Peter Howitt, then this is defiantly will be up your alley – so to speak.

So-so film with the pretty people and Mr Allen. 


SCOOP SCOOP Reviewed by David Andrews on November 08, 2011 Rating: 5
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