`Scoop' is old news: Allen isn't funny

Review C


The Phantom of Fleet Street meets Jack the Ripper in Woody Allen's farce Scoop. Of course, Allen so terribly condescends to his heroine, Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson), that she has to be told who Jack the Ripper was and wouldn't know Fleet Street from Carnaby Street, even though she's a journalism student. This left-foot-forward effort is Allen's latest failed attempt to regain comic form.

In Scoop, the specter of a renowned British journalist, Joe Strombel (Ian McShane), gets the scoop of his life, or afterlife, while Death ferries him to his Final Destination. Desperate to convey all he knows, he invades the on-stage armoire of a terrible magician, Sid Waterman (Allen), where he gives a hurried debriefing to performance volunteer Pransky.

Scoop (Focus Features) Starring Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen and Ian McShane. Directed by Woody Allen. Rated PG-13. Time 95 minutes.

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