Movie Review 2008 #56: Scoop

Another Woody Allen movie with Scarlett Johansson, and also starring himself, and Hugh Jackman.


Johansson plays Sandra Pronsky, a American journalism student visiting well-to-do friends in England. During a magic show run by Sid Waterman (Woody Allen), she inadvertently encounters the ghost of Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) a recently deceased reporter. While on the ship of the dead, Strombel has learned who might be the tarot card serial killer, and his attempts to bring this news back to the land of the living have brought his shade to the attention of Pronsky.
Excited by the possibility of the story, Pronsky with Waterman’s reluctant help seeks out the son of Lord Lyman, Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman), the possible killer fingered by Strombel. In the process of investigating him, though, Lyman falls for her, and more to the point, Pronsky falls for him Is she really falling for a killer?
It’s a fairly typical and simple Woody Allen movie. Allen plays his usual role, with self-depreciating humor. He does seem to like to film Johansson, who doesn’t come across here as glamorous as she normally does, but beautiful enough that we can see why Jackman’s Peter Lyman would fall for her, easily.
The twist in the movie is fairly predictable, but this movie relies on characters and dialogue more than actual plot. Its not the greatest movie in Allen’s career, but its certainly entertaining enough for those who like his work. And I do, and I did.
It’s amusing that this is one of two movies that year that not only both have Jackman and Johansson in it, but involve magicians and are set in London. (The other, of course, is The Prestige).