Before he was an auteur, before he was an Oscar winner, before he was a creepy old man, before he was a washed up has been, before he was coming back (once again) with the intriguing Match Point, he was damn funny.
Occasionally the comedian in Allen comes out. The underrated Small Time Crooks and Manhattan Murder Mystery are good examples of his sense of humour coming through. Scoop is another.
Scoop is a detective story thatís completely silly. Heís not interested in exploring the nature of art (as in Bullets Over Broadway) or nature vs. nurture issues (as in Mighty Aphrodite) or even marital relationships (like in Husbands and Wives). With Scoop heís just interested in making us laugh.
The new millennium hasnít been kind to Woody. His films have mostly been overblown disappointments. Match Point was considered a high and it allowed him to branch out from his comfort level. Scoop is right back in traditional Allen territory if you think way back to before Annie Hall and Manhattan when he was just interested in jokes.
Scarlet Johansen is cast against type as a young journalist who is a bit awkward who gets a tip from a dead veteran reporter on a murder story. She ends up falling for the handsome suspect (Hugh Jackman) but pursues the story with the aid of a silly magician played by Allen himself.
The humour really comes from the way Johansen and Allen play off each other. Heís best when cast in character parts like this. Itís nice that heís given up the lead to better leading actors. Here he allows himself to be hilarious. Scoop is a gut buster mostly because of him. Johansen does a good job with the comedy too masking her stunning beauty with glasses and a ponytail and focusing on the humour.
Scoop is a funny film whose plot is about as complicated as necessary to allow the humour to grow from the situations. Allen seems to be making good films again. I am sure there will be a period where he hits bottom again but until then itís nice to be able to enjoy his work once again.