A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
In the funeral of the famous British journalist Joe Strombel (Ian McShane), his colleagues and friends recall how obstinate he was while seeking a scoop. Meanwhile, the deceased Joe discloses the identity of the tarot card serial killer of London. He cheats Death (Pete Mastin) and appears to the American student of journalism Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson), who is on the stage in the middle of a magic show of the magician Sidney Waterman (Woody Allen) in London, and tells her that the murderer is the aristocrat Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman). Sondra drags Sid in her investigation, seeking for evidence that Peter is the killer. However, she falls in love with him and questions if Joe Strombel is right in his scoop.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the beginning, a group of journalists are at a bar table discussing their friend Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) and his accomplishments, very similar to the old comics at the delicatessen in Writer and Director Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose (1984), talking about the title character (Woody Allen) in the same conversational fashion. See more »
There were several scenes where Scarlett Johansson's lapel mike radio frequency transmitter strapped on her waist behind her is visible. See more »
Don't mourn for Joe Strombel. Joe Strombel had a full life. A newspaper man in the best tradition. A great credit to the Fourth Estate. It didn't matter if the bombs of the war zone were falling, it didn't matter how high up the political scandal went, or how many big corporations or small time racketeers leaned on him. Whatever the risk, if there was a story there, Joe went after it. And he usually got it.
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In this somewhat familiar story, the now-70-year-old Woody Allen plays a rambling stage magician in London who gets unwillingly roped into helping a young woman (Scarlett Johansson) find out the true identity of a potential serial killer (Hugh Jackman). The girl is an aspiring reporter who receives a tip from the spirit of a recently deceased writer that Jackman may be her man.
Woody had just made the superior and steamy drama MATCH POINT (2005) with Scarlett Johansson and was probably taken with her, so he tried casting her here alongside himself in something comical. At least he's beginning to realize he has become too long in the tooth to continue playing younger girls' love interests, and so he assumes the role of go-between mentor to the two young leads. Unsurprisingly, Jackman and Johansson are destined to become romantically involved as Scarlett pursues her investigation. Hugh Jackman is fine in his part, and though upon my first viewing of this I didn't quite buy Johansson's performance, a second look found her characterization working for me.
This film is only occasionally humorous and rather middle of the road as far as the director's overall dossier is concerned. I'm always game to continue seeing Woody cast himself in his own future comedies, so long as he keeps writing them more in line with his advancing age. Who knows, maybe he can make a senior citizen type of farce one day. **1/2 out of ****
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