Director: Woody Allen
Consider this the comedic flipside to Allen’s previous masterwork Match Point. With the cleverly funny murder mystery Scoop, Allen again finds himself in London in another co-production with BBC Films, starring his Match Point leading lady Scarlett Johannson.
Trying to escape the family business of dentistry, Scarlett plays an American journalism student who travels to England to stay with some friends. After being visited by the ghost of a recently deceased prominent British reporter while inside a magical Chinese box at a stage performance, Scarlett gets the scoop of a lifetime regarding a possible connection between a wealthy British businessman and a series of vicious prostitute slayings by the Tarot Card Killer.
Aided in her pursuit of the dashing Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman), is Woody Allen as a small-time magician from Brooklyn named Sydney Waterman who goes by the stage name of Splendini. In a refreshing change of pace, Allen’s character is father-like to Scarlett’s young student instead of simply an old letch lusting after a younger woman as seen in some of the auteur's earlier works.
Scoop makes a fascinating double feature with Match Point, as that film’s scorned female victim becomes this film’s heroine, getting revenge for the fate of her previous character by trying to solve the crime spree and save the day. Filed with many surprises that will keep your brain racing towards the solution, this film, like Match Point, utilizes elements of An American Tragedy but with delightful inclusions of comedy and romance this time around.
It’s a fun, if minor Allen film (although one of his better comedies in recent memory) and the duo of Allen and Johansson are excellent with the latter playing a fast-talking gutsy dame in the spirit of screwball actresses from the 1930’s such as Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth, Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday and Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby. Fans of Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery definitely won’t want to miss Scoop.