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The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 24 August 2001 (USA)
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An insurance investigator and an efficency expert who hate each other are both hypnotized by a crooked hypnotist with a jade scorpion into stealing jewels.

Director:

Woody Allen

Writer:

Woody Allen
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Tormey ... Sam
John Schuck ... Mize
Woody Allen ... CW Briggs
Elizabeth Berkley ... Jill
Kaili Vernoff ... Rosie
Brian Markinson ... Al
Maurice Sonnenberg Maurice Sonnenberg ... Office Worker
John Doumanian John Doumanian ... Office Worker
Peter Gerety ... Ned
Helen Hunt ... Betty Ann Fitzgerald
Kevin Cahoon ... Lunch Delivery Man
Philip Levy Philip Levy ... Rocky's Waiter (as Phil Levy)
Wallace Shawn ... George Bond
Dan Aykroyd ... Chris Magruder
Vince Giordano ... Rainbow Room All Star
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Storyline

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 <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love stings


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Dreamworks

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

24 August 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Woody Allen Fall Project 2000 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,459,315, 26 August 2001, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,496,522, 14 October 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS (Mono)| Dolby Digital (Mono)| SDDS (Mono)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"In a Persian Market" of Wilbur de Paris, the recurring theme song of the movie is played also in another Allen film: New York Stories (1989) See more »

Goofs

When Voltan the magician points the gun at C. W. Briggs, he cocks it twice. See more »

Quotes

C.W.: I didn't do it and i gotta have time to prove it, otherwise they're going to lock me up in a concrete building and you'll only be able to insult me on visiting day.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nastroyshchik (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Sophisticated Lady
Music by Duke Ellington
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish & Irving Mills
Performed by Duke Ellington
Courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A delight. Woody Allen in his classical style, as good as ever.
9 July 2002 | by SpleenSee all my reviews

I paraphrase from memory from Allen's speech at the 2001 Oscars: `When the Academy called me, I was surprised - as you know, my movie, ‘The Curse of the Jade Scorpion', hadn't been nominated for anything. I thought maybe they'd called to apologise.' At the time, I thought this was just another self-deprecating joke. And I'm sure it was. But having seen the film, I'm starting to think he had a point, or at least, as much of a point as anyone who complains about being snubbed at the Oscars ever has.

In three of the categories which are ludicrously called ‘technical' - art direction, cinematography costume design - Allen's picture had as much right to be included among the nominees as half of those that WERE included; it also had an original screenplay that had far more going for it than that of "Amelie" or "Monster's Ball" and it was at the very least above the AVERAGE quality of the films competing for the Best Picture award.

Really - it's one of Allen's better films, and I don't see how anyone could reasonably think otherwise. The early, pure comedies which some people supposedly still long for ("Take the Money and Run", "Sleeper") weren't actually any funnier; the obvious classics (like "Manhattan") weren't better structured, or cleverer, or more pointed. (Granted, "Manhattan", "Zelig" et al. had a divine spark which isn't, perhaps, to be found here, but you can't expect to be zapped by a divine spark every day of the week.) It's an old-time romantic comedy, set in the 1940s, which could ONLY be set in the 1940s (and Allen has a magic touch when it comes to 20th Century period pieces; don't ask me to explain it), in which several clichés - a contrived and unlikely plot involving (in this instance) hypnotism, a male lead decades older than the female lead, an odd couple who start by loathing each other and end up in love - are explained, given surprising depth, and pressed into serving new functions. When Briggs and Fitzgerald are arbitrarily HYPNOTISED into falling in love, it's like a comment on the absurdity of the way love strikes in romantic comedies ... but the story never fails to work perfectly when taken straight, too. All of Allen's implied second-order comments serve, in the end, to enrich the first-order story. It's as if he decided to show us that fiction crafted to debunk the conventions of other works of fiction CAN actually be good in its own right, when it's done by a true artist rather than some wanker with a theoretical axe to grind. The result: "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is diverting, pleasurable, and satisfying as not one film in a hundred succeeds in being.

Place this alongside "Sweet and Lowdown" and you'll wonder how the rumour that Woody Allen's powers are declining ever got started. I blame the modern addiction to novelty. Allen has been making movies for a while now, and even though his films today are no more derivative than they've ever been (less so, in fact), a Woody Allen picture is no longer a new KIND of thing. The same people who would argue that Haydn's 102nd symphony couldn't possibly be as good as his 80th because the latter happened to have been written and performed first (and there are people who WOULD argue this, the instant it became fashionable to do so), will tell you that "Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is clearly inferior to, say, "The Purple Rose of Cairo", because it's in the same style and vein, and was made later. Put like that, the view sounds silly. And indeed it is.


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