"We just need to put our heads together."
"If we put our heads together, you'd hear a hollow noise"
There's something charming about Scoop, a breezy little comedic mystery starring Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen and Ian McShane. When it was initially released, it was dismissed as a lesser effort from writer/director/star Woody Allen. But I feel it deserves another look.
Scarlett Johansson stars as Sondra Pransky, a journalism student spending the summer in London with relatives. One day, she goes to a magic show with her cousins, performed by Sid Waterman (played by Woody Allen). She is brought up on stage to assist in a vanishing cabinet trick. While inside the box, the spirit of recently deceased journalist Joe Strombel (played by Ian McShane) appears and tells her that Peter Lyman (played by Hugh Jackman) is the Tarot Card Killer that has been terrorizing London. Perplexed, she returns again the next day to ask Waterman about her experience. During this, Strombel appears again, this time to both of them. And with that, Sondra and Sid are on the case to find out if what Strombel said is true. They pose as father and daughter to get close to Peter. As Sondra gets close to Peter though, she begins to have her doubts about him being the Tarot Card Killer while Strombel and Sid remain convinced.
Scarlett Johansson has fun with her role, playing a bit geekier of a character than she normally does. She also works well with Allen in their second of three collaborations (sandwiched between Match Point and Vicky Christina Barcelona). They trade witty one liners while operating as two of the most unlikely sleuths. Hugh Jackman does well as the romantic lead and has some decent chemistry with Johansson. He also does a decent job keeping the audience wondering if he really is the killer or not.
While the film is not Woody Allen's best, I don't feel it deserves the reputation as a dud that it has acquired. It's a charming and witty film that deserves a second chance.