Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

Movie Name: The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
Year of Release: 2001
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Berkley, Wallace Shawn, Dan Aykroyd, John Schuck, David Ogden Stiers, Brian Markinson
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

After the well received "Small Time Crooks", Woody Allen continued with his comedy streak, this time doing a period piece taking place in the 1940s. The film focuses on an insurance investigator by the name of C.W. and his relationship with a efficiency expert, Betty Ann, both of whom work for the same employer. While Betty Ann is secretly having an affair with C.W.'s boss, they clash about everything, until one evening they are both hypnotized by a crooked hypnotist who wants them to steal jewels for them. This sets them both on a series of adventures, all the while C.W. and Betty Ann start falling for each other.
"The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is a screwball comedy much like some of Woody Allen's earlier films. It's to date his biggest budget film, and the one he confesses his biggest disappointment with, largely because of his decision to cast himself as the lead. The film tries to recapture the spirit of Frank Capra's and Howard Hawks' films, and to a certain extent it does manage to do so, with Woody Allen's traditional sense of humor inserted, however it lacks the momentum and spark that those classical films always had (such as "It Happened One Night" and "Bringing up Baby"). The cast is uniformly good, with Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron and Dan Aykroyd giving some extra dimension to the thin story, but the film lacks both the energy and satire to really elevate it to something more memorable. It's still a film that exhibits the traditional polish, wit and intelligence from a director who's nothing short of brilliant and productive.