Scoop - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Scoop Reviews

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October 8, 2016
Can we stop making movies about women who are too 'helplessly in love' and 'naive' to control their emotions? Frustrating to watch, not to mention the bad acting.
½ August 1, 2016
A little whimsical fantasy, some foul play, and Woody Allen's touch do wonders to put a spin on a simple rom-com. A prominent journalist dies and on his way to the afterlife, he uncovers the identity of a notorious serial killer in London. He speaks from beyond the grave to a young female journalist in the middle of a magic show. Now she must uncover the news story and substantiate it with supporting evidence. It is a widely creative idea for a comedy. The charming cast is fantastic and Woody Allen sets the tone with his brand of jittery sarcasm and good-natured pessimism. Scarlett Johansson is endearing as a naive but nerdy young reporter. The pair of unlikely friends improvise and lie themselves into position to get the story. When the movie looks like it could turn sappy, the quirky characters veer away and keep things interesting. It is not hysterical, but the story and the characters are interesting. The third act loses momentum and the ending does not seem right. Overall, it is quite enjoyable, and rewardingly unpredictable.
½ August 1, 2016
Another charming addition to the Woody Allen plethora of work. A light, silly crime caper, it took a while to get under my skin but when it did the joy just kept on coming.
½ July 30, 2016
The chemistry between Johansson, Allen and Jackman is delightful, and while some may consider this a tiresome entry in Allen's directions, the film is enjoyably enough, specially as a romantic comedy.
½ June 21, 2016
When being on the same boat of some sort of ending to what we don't know, we sail the waters for death is our captain steering us to the abyss. For those whom are not on the same boat, we live and try to make story of what happened.
½ April 6, 2016
"Who's Jade Spence?" Vivian (Roman Garai) asks her friend, the beautiful but ferociously neurotic Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson).
Sondra grimaces. "A would-be investigative reporter who has fallen in love with the object of her investigation."
Sondra is a journalism student visiting friends (Vivian being one of them) in London over the summer. Her initial goals were to spend the next three months taking in the sun, seeing the sights, and indulging herself in fine foods - but plans of leisure have been halted in search of a scoop.
While attending a magic show headlined by Sid Waterman (Woody Allen), Sondra is called onstage to act as his assistant, a memorable treat for any young tourist. But during her participation in the age-old Dematerialization gag, the shock of her life hits her like a truck. In the booth with her is Joe Strombel (Ian McShane), a legendary journalist whose recent death has rocked the news circuit. Though a ghost (just go with it), Sondra is surprised that Joe appears to be made of flesh and blood. More surprising, though, is the information he has to share with her.
Upon traveling down the Styx, he encountered Jane Cook (Fenella Woolgar), the former assistant of socialite Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman). One should put emphasis on "former," though: Jane suspects that she was poisoned, and that Peter was the perpetrator. Why? She believed him to be the Tarot Card Killer, a prolific London serial murderer specializing in the offings of prostitutes.
As a cognoscente of hard hitting stories, Joe is taken by the proclamation and decides that he's not going to let death stop him from otherworldly justice seeking. Why he chooses Sondra to prolong his legacy, who we suspect has gone into journalism only recently (we're repeatedly reminded that she, for most of her young life, had planned to become a dental hygienist), is curious.
But we, and Sondra, go along with it, as the proposal is interesting and because such an explosive piece cannot go ignored. Unsure how to go about her work, Sondra befuddlingly enlists the help of Sid, for no other apparent reason besides the fact that his disappearing booth held Joe's spirit. But they get along decently, proving to be an entertaining pair of snoops with a lot in common with Lily Tomlin and Art Carney in 1977's "The Late Show."
Smartly (if perhaps dangerously), the two figure the best way to force their way into Peter's social circle is through seduction; Sondra, luckily, is a hot blond who doesn't know it, the classic stereotype of the woman who doesn't become the babe until she takes off her glasses. She turns herself into Jade Spence, and introduces Sid as her father. Unconvincingly (notice how Sondra struggles for far too long picking out a fake name), their plan works - Sondra and Peter almost immediately hit it off. But things are complicated when our heroine hazardously falling in love with her topic of interest, ignoring facts that are more than just a little suspicious.
2006's "Scoop" is "Nancy Drew" lite, "Manhattan Murder Mystery" lite, and, most emphatically, Woody Allen lite. It's the dreaded type of film Allen die-hards are prone to finding in an age where he either makes terrific dramas or aggravatingly slight comedies. Unfortunately, "Scoop" is of the latter category, a case of fizzy auto-pilot that manages to be amusing but not much more than that. Allen phoning it in is a phenomenon that has been occurring since the early 2000s (just look at "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" and "To Rome with Love"), but I've never been bothered by it - his weightless larks are trifling, sure, yet they always carry a sweet energy that makes them more sugary than bad.
"Scoop" isn't bad, but it's not very good either, and that's no way to go about moviemaking or moviewatching. It begins charismatically, but not much time passes before we begin to notice that Johansson's Sondra is little more than the female version of a cartoonishly rendered Allen, that the central mystery isn't luring enough to disguise the fact that the film is mostly a vehicle for its writer/director/star to spew out half-baked one-liners and spend time with his muse.
And I'm only partially downcast by this distinction; as I love Allen and Johansson (especially when in the presence of the other), there is a certain sort of joy to be found in seeing them trade barbs, in seeing them play off of one each other like some vaudevillian comic pair. But I'm also turned off by Jackman's forced performance (not the fault of Jackman himself), which requires him to act and react in ways no one would in his situation, the entire supernatural angle, and the pestering feeling that the film might have been better if Allen hadn't cast himself as one of its two detective heroes.
But I don't want to be too harsh on "Scoop," since I did like it and since it's inoffensive and can easily be avoided if you're looking for Allen at his prime - he's got a lot more to offer, in the meantime. But traveling on auto-pilot isn't a rewarding thing to do. I just wish Allen weren't so dependent on it.
March 4, 2016
Not Woody Allens best film but it's still quite good. It's funny to see Scarlet Johansson basically playing a young, female, Woody Allen and she does it very well. The story is a bit daft but Allens dialogue is, as always, very humerous.
January 2, 2016
Easy, simple and nice. Woody always makes me smile!
December 3, 2015
Lesser Woody Allen comedy is unimaginative and forced.
½ September 17, 2015
What a fun and entertaining movie!
½ September 17, 2015
The word tired came to mind after watching this uninteresting and boring offering from Allen.
½ September 4, 2015
This one was just ok. Decent, but not great. The cast kept me watching, but I found the story weak. Certainly not one of Allen's best, but worth a watch for fans of his work.
September 4, 2015
The guy is a serial killer like I play for the Jets.

An aspiring college newspaper reporter believes in signs and the ability to speak to the dead. She has a close friend of the family that is a magician. One day she has a vision that tells her a famous, wealthy man is the serial killer that is constantly in the newspaper. She begins investigating the wealthy man and falls in love. Her family friend tries to pull her out before she gets too deep.

"Excitement in my life is dinner without heartburn after it."

Woody Allen, director of Midnight in Paris, Annie Hall, Match Point, Small Time Crooks, Alice, Shadow and Fog, September, Radio Days, and Bananas, delivers Scoop. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and well written. The dialogue is awesome and the acting is first rate. The cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Woody Allen, Hugh Jackman, Jim Dunk, Ian McShane, and Nigel Lindsay.

"Did you accomplish anything besides a possible pregnancy?"

I watched Scoop a long time ago and found it on Netflix and decided to watch it again. This was one of the first movies that put me onto Allen. This is a well done movie that has some thrilling and unpredictable aspects. The dialogue is awesome as is the character development. I strongly recommend seeing this.

"I don't know what you've been smoking but don't try to bring it through customs."

Grade: B
½ September 1, 2015
I guess I can see why all the criticism, but I really enjoyed this film, and I think Woody Allen has done far worse than this. Not perfect, but I think it's actually pretty underrated.
½ August 17, 2015
I absolutely loved it. It's by far my favorite "bad" Woody Allen film. Allen and Johansson have wonderful on-screen chemistry.
July 27, 2015
Part of a duo he did with Scarlett Johansson, the other being the dark and intellectually satisfying Match Point, Scoop, likewise, deals with murder and voices from the beyond. The tenor of the movie, however, could not be more different, and Allen achieves a minor success. Of course, Allen's minor successes are, for me, the equivalent of some film maker's entire oeuvre. I found this delightful -- crisp, intelligent writing, there is also nice construction of suspense and mystery, with the whole thing never taking itself so seriously (cf. Match Point.) The score, as well, peppered with Tchaikovsky's ballet scores and Grieg gives a good indication of the kind of mood he is setting. Johansson does a fantastic feminine Woody Allen impression, Jackman is cool and likable, as any villain should be. I think Allen is experiencing a kind of renaissance of sorts with this new period of films set in England, proving himself again to be one of the finest artists of cinema.
½ June 2, 2015
Far from being Allen's best, but well ahead of his worst.
½ April 10, 2015
Woody Allen and Scarlett Johansson are an enjoyable pair, so it's a shame Scoop just isn't very funny.
½ April 6, 2015
I was pretty bored during the whole movie, but it features Scarlett Johansson, so it doesn't need an interesting plot to be watchable.
February 25, 2015
Boy, you'd think that a Woody Allen movie that is a murder mystery starring the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman would be something really special. However, I was kind of surprised how formulaic the plot seemed to be. I think one issue is that I have watched too many murder mystery TV shows, so in order for a mystery to keep me engaged for an hour and a half it has to be a really intricate, or complex one. This most certainly is not that mystery. It's a very straightforward story where you are given the titular scoop in basically the first scene. The trick is figuring out whether the tip that the characters receive is accurate, or if the ghost that delivered the story was mistaken. Yes, you read that right, there is a man who comes back from the dead which is the inciting incident that gets Scarlett Johansson and Woody Allen involved in the mystery. It's a strange choice how they do it as well, because Woody Allen's character is a magician by trade and they could have easily written that he harnessed some unprecedented power in order to bring this man back from the dead. However the ghost appearing at a magic show is written purely as a coincidence. It seems like a wasted opportunity, but I do like the humor of the river of death scenes where Ian McShane keeps escaping the Grim Reaper.

What I did enjoy in this film was some of the humor. It has that Woody Allen wit that you expect from him, and some of the one-liners are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. Woody does his traditional neurotic routine which plays well considering some of the precarious situations they get into. At times it is a bit awkward hearing Scarlett delivering lines that are so clearly scripted by Allen, she seems to be trying to match his style of delivery, but I do think she has good comedic timing. Hugh Jackman is the straight man throughout the film, and at times his performance is a bit flat. However I liked the fact that Allen cast him in this role because he is just charming enough that he has you as an audience member questioning whether he is actually guilty or not. Most actors would probably play the part either too nice, or too sinister and it would be a dead giveaway, but Jackman hits just the right balance. A lot of the tension this movie tries to manufacture is in those classic scenes of one character trying to sneak away to look for a clue hoping that the suspect doesn't catch them in the act. It's such a cliche that it didn't work for me at all. I never for a moment was concerned about Scarlett or Woody's safety, and so the entire movie had to rely on the jokes for entertainment. Since there weren't enough good jokes to carry a whole movie, and the plot was so thin, I can't recommend Scoop. It is not a terrible film by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly not a Woody Allen masterpiece.
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