Scoop (2006)… before Woody Allen fell in love

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Scoop

My rating: 7

IMDB rating: 6.8

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457513/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm

Dearest reader,

I have to start by saying that I am one of the biggest Woody Allen fans out there. I do not, though, consider myself an expert on his oeuvre, but I have never seen one of his films that I did not like… But with this film, I cannot truly say that I loved the film, and my theory is that it is because Allen himself did not love the film….

Let me explain…

Woody Allen falls in love with his actors, his story and most importantly his setting and it shows. In Blue Jasmine, he is completely taken by the character of Jasmine. He loves her ignorance and her inability to have perspective on her own life, and it is clear from the story.

With both Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Allen is smitten with Paris, Rome and Barcelona. Critics can rave about his weak story lines or narcissistic writing, but they cannot say a thing about his love for these cities as portrayed by beautiful shots of, not only famous parts of these cities, but back alleys and lesser seen parts.

With Scoop though, it seems that Allen has hit a dry spell. His trademark off-beat comedy is still very present in the film, for example this hilarious line:

Sid Waterman (Woody Allen): “I was born of the Hebrew persuasion, but I converted to narcissism.”

But there is no sign of the love that is so essential to Allen’s artistic success.

And Johansson, who was once widely recognized as Allen’s muse following her three movie (Match Point, Scoop and Vicky, Cristina Barcelona)  run on his direction, plays a part that I cannot help but describe as a bit childish. The Nancy Drew-type of persona that Johansson portrays here is far below the really in-depth acting that we know she is capable of.

It really kills me to call this movie by Allen a “fluff-piece”, but unfortunately that is what it is. And in that sense, this film is really enjoyable, there are tons of funny moments, as well as some suspense and a bit of a love story. True to Allen form, the story is centered around a woman that eventually outsmarts the man.

Killing of his character at the end of the film, may be the most important part of this movie, because all the Allen films that followed is a step away from the narcissistic narratives that we have gotten so used to from him. In that sense he literally kills of the greatest burden to his artistic success and that is himself.

Want to read more on Scoop? Try these…

Roger Ebert: Scoop

Cinema Autopsy: Scoop

Popmatters: Scoop

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