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"SCOOP"
(2006) (Scarlett Johansson, Woody Allen) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate None Heavy *Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Mild Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Working on a tip from a deceased reporter and with the aide of an old-school stage magician, a college journalism student tries to figure out whether a handsome aristocrat is really a serial killer.
PLOT:
Sondra Pransky (SCARLETT JOHANSSON) is an American college student in London trying to get her first big break in journalism. When her pursuit of a famous director results in a roll in the hay but no interview, she takes a break by attending the stage act of old-school magician Splendini, a.k.a. Sid Waterman (WOODY ALLEN). Randomly selected by him to perform in a trick, she's shocked when she encounters the spirit of recently deceased reporter Joe Strombel (IAN McSHANE) in the magic box. It seems that down on the River Styx, he met a woman who believes she was poisoned by her boss, Peter Lyman (HUGH JACKMAN), a rich and dashingly handsome aristocrat. Joe's hunch is that he's really the Tarot Card Killer who's been preying on local prostitutes. Unable to stay on Earth for long, he gives his scoop to Sondra.

She doesn't believe it at first, and neither does Sid when she comes back the next day to follow up. However, when Joe's spirit shows up again, they're convinced and thus set out -- with no evidence and little to go on -- to figure out if Peter really is the serial killer.

Needing a way to get into his circle, Sondra feigns a drowning episode so that he'll save her, and then concocts an alias that includes Sid being her rich businessman father. From that point on, and as Sondra starts to fall under Peter's charming spell, she and Sid continue on their quest, unsure of what they might find and how they'll prove it if they do.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or filmmaker Woody Allen, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some sexual content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON plays an American college student in London looking for her big break in journalism. She thinks she's found it when Joe's ghost gives her the scoop about Peter, so she makes up an alias, infiltrates his life, and tries to find out if he's a serial killer. But she ends up falling for and sleeping with him (after having a one-night stand with another man) in the process. She drinks some and reportedly was drunk for that casual sexual encounter.
  • WOODY ALLEN plays an old school stage magician who hesitantly joins Sondra on her quest and then gets wrapped up in his roll playing her father. He drinks some.
  • HUGH JACKMAN plays a dashing and rich aristocrat who sweeps Sondra off her feet (and into bed), and may or may not be the serial killer. He drinks some.
  • IAN McSHANE plays the dead reporter who comes back from the grave to give Sondra the possible scoop of a lifetime regarding Peter.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of a few expletives, while colorful phrases and some sexually related dialogue are also heard. Off-screen sexual encounters occur (we twice see one couple post-sex - some skin is seen, but nothing explicit), while one woman shows varying amounts of cleavage.

    There's talk of a serial killer committing murders off-screen, but we only see him try to harm someone once, by throwing a victim into a lake. It's implied that she drowns, but is later seen okay. That scene and few moments where snoopers seem likely to be caught in the act might be a little suspenseful for some viewers, but most of that's played lightly. A person also dies in a car crash off-screen (played for comedy).

    Various forms of bad attitudes are present, some characters smoke and others drink (one to the point of having a one-night stand - off-camera - while intoxicated). A brief drug-related comment is also made.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks and raise a toast to Joe.
  • Sondra has a drink with a film director she's trying to interview and then has another. Later, she tells her friend that she slept with the guy and didn't get the interview. Her friend then asks how was the sex and Sondra doesn't know as she says she was too drunk.
  • When Sondra reports that she saw Joe in Sid's stage box, the magician says he doesn't know what she's been smoking, but that she shouldn't try to bring it through customs.
  • People have drinks at a reception.
  • Some men drink while playing poker, and when Peter joins them, he says he could use a drink.
  • We see part of Peter's wine cellar (from which a butler later retrieves some wine).
  • After having had sex with Sondra, Peter says it's time to celebrate with champagne (he goes off and returns with a bottle, but we don't see them have any).
  • Sid has a beer at a cafe where we see someone else also drinking.
  • People have drinks at a party.
  • Sid and Sondra have beer with dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The killers obviously have bad attitudes (but only one is seen, and at only one moment does he try to harm someone - albeit by drowning).
  • A woman on the River Styx tells Joe that she was Peter's secretary and that she thinks she was murdered via poison.
  • Sid gets Sondra's last name wrong (using another ethnic name) but then blows that off (as a joke) by saying they celebrate the same holidays.
  • Sondra fakes drowning in a pool to prompt Peter to save her, thus allowing her a way in to meet and thus investigate him.
  • Playing undercover, Sondra lies to Peter about her and Sid's identities and backgrounds, etc.
  • Sid jokes about a Jew's Harp (the musical instrument) and anti-Semitism while making small talk at a reception.
  • Sid snoops through Peter's bag during a reception.
  • Sondra snoops through Peter's stuff when he leaves the room for a moment.
  • Some people might not like Sid jokingly telling others at a party that Sondra (pretending she's his daughter) was learning disabled as a kid. Later, he jokes about adopting Sondra in the past and that he and his wife wanted a handicapped child.
  • Sid sneaks into Peter's locked music room and snoops around.
  • Sid lies to various people living near a murder scene about him being a reporter.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Most of the following is played lightly rather than as true suspense.
  • Some scenes feature the ghost of a dead man (Joe), but nothing about the presentation is scary (beyond the thought of such matters for those sensitive to that).
  • Although not played to be scary, Sondra encounters Joe's ghost inside a magic box where Sid has placed her (and he gives her the scoop on the murder mystery).
  • Sondra snoops through Peter's stuff when he leaves the room for a moment (thus making us worry she'll be caught in the act).
  • Sid sneaks into Peter's locked music room and snoops around. He ends up locked inside, Sondra comes down and unlocks him, and the two are nearly caught there while snooping.
  • Sondra gets up in the middle of the night, lets herself into Peter's locked music room, and snoops around. After finding a hidden pack of tarot cards (thus suggesting Peter is the killer), she returns to the bedroom, but doesn't act terribly scared or concerned.
  • Sondra finds herself on a rowboat in the middle of a private lake with the killer who's just confessed. He then says that she must drown, the two struggle and he throws her into the water. She splashes around a bit and then goes under, with him returning to his house, calling the police, and saying there's been an accident. Moments later, however, Sondra shows up (all wet), saying she faked her drowning.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Bloody," "Losers," "Trollop," "You're a credit to your race" (what Sid keeps telling everyone), "Stop telling people I sprang from your loins," "What the hell is wrong with you?" "Chick," "Nitwit tricks," "I feel like such an idiot," "Nuts" (crazy), "Have you completely lost your mind?" "What are you putting in your Metamucil?" and "She has a problem with promiscuity" (said as a joke).
  • Sondra fakes drowning in a pool to prompt Peter to save her, thus allowing her a way in to meet and thus investigate him.
  • Playing undercover, Sondra lies to Peter about her and Sid's identities and backgrounds, etc.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 slang term for sex ("roll in the hay"), 1 damn, 1 hell, at least 9 uses of "God," 4 of "My God," 3 of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Christ," "Oh Christ," "Oh God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Sondra has a drink with a film director she's trying to interview and then has another. Later, she tells her friend that she slept with the guy and didn't get the interview. Her friend then asks how was the sex and Sondra doesn't know as she says she was too drunk. The friend then makes a comment and then adds not that she wouldn't mind a roll in the hay with that director.
  • We hear that the Tarot Card Killer murders prostitutes.
  • Sondra shows varying amounts of cleavage in various outfits, including a one-piece bathing suit that draws Peter's attention.
  • We see Peter in a regular bathing suit.
  • About their faked father/daughter relationship, Sondra tells Sid to stop telling people that she sprang from his loins.
  • Peter kisses Sondra in his music room and then suggestively asks if he should show her the upstairs (she agrees). We then see her walk out wearing just a towel (post sex), while he's in bed shirtless with his lower half under the covers. He's enthused and says that it (sex) was as great as he imagined it would be.
  • About her snooping around Peter's place after sex, Sid asks if she accomplished anything other than a possible pregnancy. After realizing Sondra is hooked on Peter, Sid comments that Peter "must be some lover."
  • Sid comments on a dirty joke about how a French horn player sleeps with his wife, but doesn't actually tell the joke.
  • We see Sondra and Peter in bed, post sex, and see her bare back as her lower half is under the covers. He's shirtless and asleep, and we then see her in just one of his dress shirts as she snoops around (nothing explicit seen).
  • Commenting on Sondra spotting Peter when the latter said he was going out of town, Sid comments that maybe Peter has a second woman and is sexually attracted to her.
  • We see a woman's bare lower back as her shirt rides up a bit.
  • Lying to Peter's housekeeper to get into the house to snoop around, Sid says Sondra left her sweater there. When the housekeeper doesn't find it, he says that maybe Sondra left it in another bedroom since she has a problem with promiscuity.
  • SMOKING
  • About Sondra acting as a reporter, Sid jokes that she'll soon be drinking black coffee and smoking cigarettes.
  • Several miscellaneous characters smoke cigars or cigarettes in a few scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There's a brief funeral scene for Joe.
  • Sid says his wife dumped him in the past.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • We hear that the Tarot Card Killer murders prostitutes.
  • Journalism and lying as a means to an end.
  • Magic acts.
  • Sid jokes about a "Jew's Harp" and anti-Semitism while making small talk at a reception.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A woman on the River Styx tells Joe that she was Peter's secretary and that she thinks she was murdered via poison.
  • There's a report of another murder of a prostitute.
  • A woman comes out of a building, yelling that there's been another murder (but we don't see anything).
  • Sondra finds herself on a rowboat in the middle of a private lake with the killer who's just confessed. He then says that she must drown, the two struggle and he throws her into the water. She splashes around a bit and then goes under, with him returning to his house, calling the police, and saying there's been an accident. Moments later, however, Sondra shows up (all wet), saying she faked her drowning.
  • We hear the sound of a car crash (from driving on the wrong side of the road) and then see that person on the River Styx with Death and others who've recently died.



  • Reviewed July 11, 2006 / Posted July 28, 2006

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