Scoop (PG-13)

Comedy 96 July 28, 2006
By Bill Gallo
Woody Allen might have done well to end his expatriate adventure in London with last year's intriguing morality tale Match Point. This alleged return to comedy -- starring Point's nubile Scarlett Johansson as a naive American journalism student, Allen himself as the phobia-rattled magician who poses as her father, and Hugh Jackman as a dashing English nobleman who may be a serial killer -- is so flat, dull, and off-form that its seems to have been conceived in a fog. When Allen's famously neurotic one-liners start to bomb, there's real trouble, and Woody's performance here comes off as stammering self-parody: He's a pent-up bundle of tics and quirks so irritating that, halfway through, you may feel like ending the misery -- his and yours. With Deadwood's Ian McShane as a recently deceased London newspaper legend who, from beyond the grave, puts the young heroine onto the story of a lifetime.
Woody Allen Scarlett Johansson, Ian McShane, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen, Jim Dunk, Romola Garai, Robyn Kerr, Kevin McNally, James Nesbitt, Colin Salmon Woody Allen Letty Aronson, Gareth Wiley Focus Features

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