The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Woody Allen returns to true form with Scoop

Writer, director and actor Woody Allen has outdone himself yet again with “Scoop,” a film that is arguably his best in the past decade.

“Scoop” is the cleverly-crafted story of Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson), an American journalism student studying abroad in London. While acting as an audience participant in a magic trick performed by hapless magician “Splendini,” a.k.a. Sid Waterman (Woody Allen), Sondra is visited by the ghost of once-brilliant reporter Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) and given a lead on the story of a lifetime. Passing themselves off as father and daughter, Sid and Sondra pursue and investigate Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman), an aristocrat who may be responsible for a series of murders.

The film is light escapist fare, determined to make even the most critical movie-goer crack a smile. However, while every scene is played for laughs, not every gag gets one. Despite that, the film has a very carefree feel to it, making it an enjoyable contrast to most of this summer’s releases. Allen’s very specific brand of humor shines in this script, which lends itself perfectly to the talents of the actors.

Scarlett Johansson portrays the naïve journalist character blandly at times, but with a refreshing honesty that many have come to expect of her work. Johansson tends to be a one-note actress, but if that one note is continually this entertaining, what right does the audience have to complain? In any case, she seems to be Woody Allen’s newest muse, something that may delight fans of their previous team-up in “Match Point,” which was also shot in London.

Hugh Jackson again proves himself to be a charming and capable leading man, playing aristocrat Peter Lyman with charisma and panache. Johansson and Jackson are likeable together, providing just barely enough chemistry to seem plausible. Meanwhile, Woody Allen and Ian McShane provide much of the film’s comedy and do so with the adept confidence that years of experience tends to provide.

“Scoop” is Allen’s second film to be shot in London, and the change of scenery has only helped. “Match Point” was Allen’s most inspired film in years, and “Scoop” looks to be equally well received, which could signal a real comeback for Allen. While it lacks the wit and charm of Allen’s classics of the ’70’s, “Scoop” is another step in the right direction.

Overall, “Scoop” is goofy, fun and well worth a trip to the theatre.

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