CW Briggs is a veteran insurance investigator, with many successes. Betty Ann Fitzgerald is a new employee in the company he works for, with the task of reorganizing the office. They don't like each other - or at least that's what they think. During a night out with the rest of the office employees, they go to watch Voltan, a magician who secretly hypnotizes both of them, in order to use them for his dirty schemes. The next evening already, Briggs makes his first robbery, and when he wakes up in the morning he has no memory of it. Things get really complicated when he starts investigating the case. Will he be able to uncover... himself? Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <email@example.com>
First of all, since I am such a loyal fan of Woody's films, this may not be the most objective critique in the world. I have since my 18th year thoroughly enjoyed his witty dialogue, his comedic and sometimes darker explorations into life, love, and death. In addition, I adore the variety of early jazz scores that he uses for his films. That being said, Woody at 66 years of age has showed no signs of slowing down in his flm career, delivering by far the brightest and wittiest comedy I've viewed this year, in "Curse of the Jade Scorpion". The film is a homage to the Pulp films of yesteryear. It's set in 1940, Woody plays the role of an aging detective in an insurance company. He has cracked many huge cases, receiving information from street contacts, and relying heavily on gut instinct and dumb luck. He can't stand the new efficiency expert (Helen Hunt) who is smarter than he is, younger than he is, poses a threat to his job, and can't stand him either. During a dinner party for a fellow detective's birthday, they are both hypnotized by the magician Zolton, who uses the powers of the 'Jade Scorpion' to make them fall deeply in love with one another. He snaps them out of it just as they are about to kiss, but Zolton never releases them from the key word that can at anytime send them deep into suggestive hypnosis. Later on, Zolton calls CW Briggs, hypnotizes him with the keyword, and uses him as a pawn to rob jewelry from rich estates.
The casting in the film was excellent. There are supposed film "experts" out there who believe that Woody is too old for the lead in this film, and that it is unbelievable how Charlize Theron or Helen Hunt would ever fall for him. I wholeheartedly disagree. Throughout the film, Woody's character is not displayed as a handsome or romantic gent, in fact quite the opposite. In it he is called grubby, an inchworm, and a cockroach, just to name a few. Theron only wants to have sex with him as an experiment, since she is used to handsome and muscular men, not shrimpy and ugly ones. Helen Hunt is hypnotized into loving him, and vice versa, but when they're not under Jade's spell then they absolutely loathe each other ( I won't go any further into this so I don't spoil the film's ending.) Although Woody is ageing, his performance was outstanding, not losing a step as he delivers wise cracks and witty comments, one after the other. Helen Hunt also performs flawlessly and was actually a treat to watch her. As for the rest of the cast, Dan Aykroyd is decent in a small yet significant role, as well as Charlize Theron and Elizabeth Berkeley.
The cinematography and the visual setting for the film in jazzy 1940 is absolutely exquisite, it is much more polished then his earlier works. The writing is excellent, as I've said before, Woody hasn't lost one step in his writing or his performance. The jazz soundtrack is, as usual, very pleasant and fits very well with the scenery. Overall, "Curse of the Jade Scorpion" ranks as one of my favorite Woody films. If you are a fan of his previous light comedies then you will definitely enjoy this little film. So what are you waiting for? Head up to the theatre and see it on the big screen.
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