The story concerns the awkward but beautiful American journalism student Sondra,who is studying in England,and through some odd circumstances, comes into contact with the spirit of a recently deceased journalist. He gives her details about a scoop concerning a rash of serial killings, and his new information (if correct) could really blow the whole thign wide open and bring her much acclaim. Intrigued, Sondra enlists the help of a fellow American, a third rate magician named Sid aka The Great Splendini, to see if the dead journalist's lead, a super wealthy high society playboy really is true.
While investing their possible suspect, the usual stuff of drama and comedy, like falling in love happens, creating a complex mess of lies, shenanigans, and fun. I will admit that the film isn't all that original where the muder mystery is cincerned, and it pretty much ends how you think it will, but I didn't really mind it so much, because I found it very entertaining to watch Allen and Johansson go through the motions of playing detectives.
It comes off, and I mean this with the highest amount of respect and sincerity, like a neurotic cross between Scooby Doo and typical Woody Allen. The film is very light and not really all that significant, but it's quote entertaining, very fun, and well played.
Allen is typical Allen, and, even though he's no longer groundbreaking with his schtick, he's still endearing. Johansson is fun and plucky as Sondra, and I can see why she's been somewhat of a potential muse for Allen over the past decade. Huge Jackman is quite good as the suave playboy Peter, but for me, I really enjoyed seeing Ian McShane as the deceased journalist Joe Strombel. His interactions in the afterlife are a joy, and it's just fun seeing him trade banter with a writer like Woody.
This is a nice little romp, but it's best looked at as a lazy afternoon watch sort of thing. It would probably help if you're a diehard of someone in the cast too. Being that I am, I found the film rather agreeable, even though I wouldn't have minded something more substantial. It's got good classical music typical of Woody's films, a few sequences that are, cinematically speaking, not bad, and of course Woody's typical humor and charm.
All in all, it's okay, but like I said, you probably should only see this if you're really a completist or a die hard.
I'll admit that I laughed a few times at some of Woody's dialogue, but that hardly made up for this movies myriad flaws. None of the characters were the least bit likeable or relatable. Jackman lacked the charm and menace that his role required, and Johansson's character seemed annoying, thick and disingenuous, when the film appeared to want the viewer to see her as inquisitive and endearingly awkward. I know that both these actors can portray these qualities, because I've seen them do it before. This leaves me no choice but to once again place the blame on the lackluster writing and characterization.
I'm struggling to find positive things to say, because I didn't exactly hate the movie...but all that comes to mind are negatives. The ghost angle was half-baked, the ending was as anti-climactic as they come, and I never imagined that the world of London's upper-crust (or serial killers) could be made to appear so boring and pedestrian. Scoop simply wasn't a very good movie.
Everyone's in top form here. Jackman and Johansson deliver point-perfect performances, giving us in both their cases characters you wouldn't expect; Jackman as a charming British nobleman (with a flawless accent from the Aussie) and Johansson as a slightly nerdy, slightly immature, but incredibly persistent college journalism student. See if you can suppress a giggle when she snorts while laughing.
But Woody steals the show here, at his absolute neurotic best, delivering one-liner after one-liner at breakneck speed. The plot keeps you guessing a bit too, but it's really just a medium for the cast to flex their comedic chops.
If you're in the mood for a mystery/comedy, you're going to love Scoop.
I can't forget to throw out the fact that Julian Glover, the man that played some of the greatest villains of the 1980's makes an appearnce (Empire as General Veers, For Your Eyes Only as Kristatos, and Last Crusade as Walter Donovan).