See this movie. Scoop, a Woody Allen movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman, is … actually, what more do I need to say? It’s a comedy caper film that involves magic, mystery, and murder. Basically, a student journalist (Johansson) is magically greeted by a recently deceased professional journalist who tells her to pursue a juicy story – Peter Lyman, an extremely wealthy man played by Jackman, may be the infamous Tarot Card Killer. What’s nice about this film, compared to some of Allen’s other films, is that it has likable characters whose interesting conflicts drive the plot. What I noticed Allen doing in this movie that I wish other movies and TV shows would do is including speech errors, such as stuttering, stopping mid-sentence to switch to another thought, and other things that realpeople do when they are collecting their thoughts as they talk. The story is pretty interesting and keeps the audience trying to figure it all out, and the pace is nice and snappy.
I have really been debating about whether I should give it four stars or four and a half, and while I really do like it a lot, is has a few issues. The big twist/climax is really predictable, and the ending is bitter-sweet when in this particular film I think it should have been happier and stronger. I have a difficult time explaining what I mean by stronger, but I essentially want to leave the film feeling like the story is completely finished and resolved, so I can mentally/emotionally leave the characters. I do not need this from every movie of course, because some stories should not have that kind of ending, but I kind of feel that this one should have.
Aside from the end, I was still bothered by the clichés. For example, the lead character pretends to drown to get the guy’s attention. This film also has the apparently obligatory “Apology for Pretending to Be Someone Else” scene, and the bit in when the person dragged into someone else’s lies makes it terribly obvious that they’re lying and tells stupid lies. Honestly, I only laughed out loud a few times, but overall the comedy is pleasant, and there are some great lines that are so, so Woody Allen. I am fully able to enjoy the movie despite its clichés, however, because the characters and story are very interesting, and Woody really shows his expertise as a director in this film. This is probably the film I would recommend most highly as an introduction to Woody Allen films. As long as he gets a bit of his pessimism and his commentary on death in there, I’m happy.