“Maybe he belongs to one of those clubs where he’s a crossdresser.”
Scoop the latest film from Woody Allen, falls into the light romantic romp category. While it lacks the depth of Match Point, it’s enjoyable, and hopeless Woody Allen fans (like me) will recognize familiar themes from some of his other films.
Budding reporter Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson) is in England staying with some wealthy British connections when she attends a magic show. Sondra is invited as a member of the audience to assist in one of the tricks performed by magician Splendini (Woody Allen). During the course of the trick, recently dead reporter Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) contacts Sondra. In life, Strombel could never pass up a hot tip for a story, and in death he wants to pass the tip to a fellow reporter. Strombel tells Sondra that he’s just received a hot tip that the mysterious unidentified Tarot Killer who’s been stalking prostitutes in London is none other than millionaire Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman).
Sondra can’t go to the police with a tip she’s received from a ghost, so instead she enlists the help of the reluctant Stromboli to investigate the Tarot killings. Together Sondra and Stromboli go undercover, assume new identities and infiltrate Lyman’s world.
The amateur sleuth team is reminiscent of the teaming of Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Manhattan Murder Mystery but in Scoop there’s a strong, otherworldly element of magic (Alice) that conveniently acts as a Deus Ex Machina at times. It is delightful to see Woody Allen back at the fore of one of his films, and in typical Woody Allen style, his character’s insecurities and voice of caution were extremely funny. For this Woody Allen fan, it was good to see this perennial, talented comedian back in front of the camera. There’s nothing too serious here, and the film is clearly not intended to fall into the serious Woody Allen film category. Instead, this is just a lighthearted romp–nothing more and certainly nothing less. It’s enjoyable escapism.