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Woody Allen is back to his old comedic form with “Scoop,” after his surprising success with his last film, the dramatic thriller, “Match Point” (2005). Allen reunites with “Match Point” actress Scarlett Johansson in one of his more traditional comedic films. It has a good mix of dark humor, drama, and love to make a movie that most anyone of a mature age can enjoy. Allen plays his usual role as a bumbling character, which is balanced out by Johansson who, as it seems, plays a female version of Allen. Sondra Pransky, played by Johansson, an ambitious journalism student who is visiting a friend in England meets the magician Splendini (Allen) when she is called on stage at one of his shows to be a participant in an “experiment,” as Allen calls it. While the trick is being performed, Pransky meets Joe Strombel, renowned but recently deceased journalist (Ian McShane, who also stars in the HBO series, “Deadwood”). Strombel is in pursuit of one of the biggest scoops of his former life, the Tarot Card killer, and wants to use Pransky as a conduit to write it. Pransky then convinces the doubtful Splendini, whose real name is Sid Waterman, to help her investigate the son of the wealthy Lord Lyman, Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman). Pransky then becomes romantically involved with the subject of her investigative reporting.Allen beautifully entangles lies and deceit with comedy. He also creates believable characters in the movie he wrote, produced and stars in. Allen’s dark humor can be seen through every aspect of the movie.Johansson had some trouble keeping in character, but it is very hard to act like a female version of Woody Allen, who in a way has a one of a kind personality. At times, she would bounce between high energy Sondra Pransky, who had a very bubbly voice and flirtatious personality, to her typical demure attitude and smoky seductive voice that become a part of her career’s trademark. Either character that she played was still enjoyable to watch. Other than that, she developed a very well crafted character that shows her impressive talent that precedes her age by decades. Her chemistry with both Allen and Jackman was very entertaining to watch.Jackman also had a very developed character. It was very hard to determine if he was playing a naively pompous, rich, snob or if he was being a genuinely nice person that didn’t know how to communicate with other people, the balance was very good. Jackman had a very commanding presence on screen, he looked more athletic and muscle bound playing the smartly dressed Peter Lyman than he did playing the roguish Wolverine in the three “X-Men” movies. Aside from Johansson struggling to consistently stay in character, the movie was very well directed and written. Add this to the collection of memorable Woody Allen films out there. I recommend people buy this one when it comes out on video because it will be enjoyable again and again. Final grade: A-

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Come get the scoop on “Scoop”