Scoop (2006) Movie Review: I Miss Witty Movies Like This

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sondra: I wouldn’t be surprised if Peter asks me to marry him one day, you know.
Sid: You come from an orthodox family, would they accept a serial killer?

Except from the movie Scoop (2006)

Here is an excerpt from the movie:

  • Director, writer and Screenplay by: Woody Allen
  • Sondra Pransky: Scarlett Johansson
  • Sid Waterman: Woody Allen
  • Peter Lyman: Hugh Jackman
  • Joe Strombel: Ian McShane

The people who have been following Woody Allen movies since the release of ‘Take The Money And Run’ in 1969 would say that Scoop is a typical “Woody Allen movie” and compare it to his another film ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’. However, I feel that even though there are some similarities in the plot, for instance, women in both the movies take up the role of being an immature detective, and Mr. Allen by their side, takes up the role of being their cautious inner voice, these two movies have their share of differences.

First, ‘Scoop’ leans more towards solving the crime and less towards telling a romantic story, towards which ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’ leans. And second, I feel that by engaging current generation artists/actors, like Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson, Woody Allen breaks the monotony of his films and make it more refreshing, which this movie does perfectly. It refreshes the old idea which was reflected in his previous movie (Manhattan Murder Mystery), in a new form for his new generation audience.

What I find most amazing about Woody Allen movies is through his writing, he connects two scenes that one wouldn’t, usually, connect or think of connecting. For instance, in this movie, Scoop, which is set up in London, he connects a dead journalist’s ghost (Joe Strombel) to a small-time magician called Sid Watermen, and an American journalist student called Sondra. Further, the progression of the plot takes place when these three characters decide to investigate the case of the serial killer, the Tarot Card Killer, which they suspect to be Peter Lyman, a rich, handsome and going to be a politician.

Not only that, he makes references to Greek mythological and other artistic/cultural artworks in a quirky and humorous fashion, which makes viewing this movie extremely entertaining.

Another reason for which this movie is criticized is for its unrefined manner of presentation, with which I disagree. Throughout the movie, minute details have been taken care of, like one would see the use of subtle and pastel-coloured costume and set design to reflect the aristocratic European culture. Further, the scenes have a rhythmic flow that adds to the enjoyment of watching this movie.

May that be the movie ‘Home Alone 3’ or ‘Lucy’ or acting as Black Widow in the Avenger universe, Scarlett Johansson has always justified her roles and made them come alive, and here as well her performance is no less. On the other hand, may that be strenuous roles like playing Wolverine and Robert Angier in the movie ‘The Prestige’ or small role like this one, Hugh Jackman has never shied away from giving a brilliant performance. Here, Woody Allen also gave an entertaining, humorous, and witty performance as ever. A fun fact, Woody Allen used to be a card magician before he became a comic writer. I wonder if this role of a magician that he plays in this movie is inspired from those days. Either way, unarguably he gave a convincing performance as a panic-stricken magician/father figure to Sonda.

I would like to take a few minutes and draw a comparison between current day comedy thriller movies versus Woody Allen’s comedy thriller movies.

The latest film that was released from this genre is Murder Mystery, starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. This movie was a pure waste of time and energy to even watch, and I went a step further and squandered my energy in reviewing it. This movie has no reference to any great artworks or cultural reference, apart from the book and movie Orient Express, that also for a second at the end of the movie. Neither does this movie make any statement, well, about anything. It only show casts Jennifer Aniston’s and Adam Sandler’s acting skills, which we know is good, but to what cause were they applied?

On another hand, Woody Allen’s humour not only makes people laugh, but also make them think and know about various artworks. I would be lying if I say ‘Scoop’ makes a statement, it doesn’t, but its witty dialogues filled in for it. Yes, I agree in some of the places in this movie he loses the mark when making a comical stand, but even the dialogue that was intended to be funny but fell short, had some substance/referring to art work. Whereas, Murder Mystery (2019) was a bland concoction of intended slapstick comedy that fell short in every scene to make its audience laugh.

I made this comparison to make myself and our generation remember that humour needs a little more elaborate platform than just trolls and memes. It needs a little more effort, hardwork and critical mind to create and sustain audience’s interest for a longer time. I made this comparison to make us remember the taste of good humour/comedy movies.

Now, if you are a person who wishes to explore the nitty-gritty of humour tactics used by an expert or just wish to have a good time watching a brilliant comedy-thriller with your friends and family, I highly recommend this movie. I am sure you will enjoy the experience of watching this movie as much as I did.

Do comment in the section below, which is your go-to comedy movie, and why?

Enjoy! Don’t forget to laugh.

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