Scoop is cute. It’s a breezy and light little film that you could take your girlfriend or grandma to and be guaranteed a nice experience. The only real knocks on it would be that it’s not hugely substantive and it’s not always that funny when Woody is overdoing it. However it is a movie mystery comedy which I believe is a rare breed so that’s cool too. And thankfully it’s eminently more watchable than the deplorable (and critically loved) Match freaking Point (review here).
This is only the second Woody Allen film I’ve ever taken in. Before I start getting crazy mail about how I should’ve seen this or how could I miss out on that I want to let you in on a little reviewer secret. We don’t see everything. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been talking to someone about movies and they’ll bring up one I’ve never seen and they’ll be blown away that I somehow missed it. It’s a simple function of math that I’m going to miss some. Consider this; films are screened Monday through Thursday. That’s 208 possible days a year I can catch a film. Of those available days I’d say studios use about 140 to hold screenings for reviewers. I’m on pace to see a little over 100 movies this year. This means a combination of Brad or Dre Rivas cover the rest and some we just miss because they are too small for anyone to really care about. Of the 40 I miss probably ten are big films (Lady in the Water for example).
Anyway, what this diatribe leads to is that during my time away from screening, interviewing, writing reviews and generally taking over the world I’m sure as hell not sprinting out to the video store and demanding backlog Woody Allen fare. The guy hit his prime about 30 years ago. His films never make anything, never get released wide, in fact his average gross dollars per movie is $12m. Pirates made six times what he makes on the average film in one piddly week. In his entire directing career of 32 films he’s made $414m which even adjusting for inflation (because he broke on the scene in 1912) won’t touch someone like Ratner whose eight films have grossed $838m, and he’s not even considered good! So Woody Allen is at best a decent artist who receives an inordinate amount of love given he’s never really had any success with the masses. He’s a pet project, actors love working with him and studios throw him a bone or two every couple years because it looks good on the credibility resume. But don’t for a minute put him in the same leagues as the big boys. Now I know the masses are wrong sometimes, I know what’s popular should never be confused with what’s great creatively but in this case if the audience doesn’t see him and I don’t think he’s so hot I’m not left with many other options but to figure he’s just an average director.
Crap, this started out as a positive review and has somehow turned into Woody Allen bashing hour. Okay, I actually liked Scoop! Scarlett Johannson is much better here as kind of a female version of the Wood-man and Woody himself doesn’t come off as too self indulgent when he’s doing the patented stutter punch-line. The story is essentially a news reporter appearing from the dead to give S-Jo a scoop about a supposed serial killer. That supposed fellow is Hugh “The Woman Wolverine” Jackman who is adequate here as a British bigshot. Scarlett starts poking around and the drama unfolds all around you like a London rain. It all comes off rather cleanly and quickly. I think it has a good resolve too, so again you’ll have an experience worth your money if you can find this one in a theater near you (sorry Duluth). To close this out check out Scoop if you get a chance and I hope I haven’t defiled any possible relationship with myself and Woody; I’d really like to work with him at some point in the future. I’ve read he’s a genius.