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  • Here's an entertaining crime story set in 1939 with nice atmosphere and colors and the normal Woody Allen wacky humor.

    If you enjoy man-versus-woman insult exchanges, you'll love this as Allen and Helen Hunt trade clever barbs back and forth at a rate that reminded of an old Marx Brothers film. Many of the lines are funny with Allen, since it's his film, delivering most of them.

    The story goes on a bit too long but overall keeps your interest. The women in here, from Hunt to the office girl (Elizabeth Berkely) to Charlize Theron playing a Veroncia Lake-lookalike are all glamorous.

    Dan Akroyd, David Ogden-Stiers, Wallace Shawn and John Schuck are all veteran comedians who know their trade so the movie offers a lot of quality yuks. I'm surprised this movie isn't better known. I really enjoyed it the first time but laughed even more on the second viewing. Silly, but fun.
  • "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is a romantic comedy/crime/mystery set in New York City of the 1940s which involves a love-hate relationship between veteran insurance investigator CW Briggs (Woody Allen) and his new boss Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt). One night, while watching the Magician's show with the rest of the employees, they are both hypnotized by a sinister hypnotist with a jade scorpion who later uses them into unknowingly stealing jewels for him. Had this comedy been written and directed by someone else, it would've been a disaster but Allen with his magic touch, had produced a funny and charming delight. That's what my husband called it after we enjoyed it together and I can't agree more. I love Ellington's music, the whole 40-th setting, and Woody's one-liners. His face in the scene where he and Helen Hunt were both hypnotized was simply hilarious - the guy knows how to do a physical comedy to perfection. I don't care if this picture has been called "a lesser Allen's movie" - it is still much better than majority of the comedies that come out every year. Even "lesser Allen" is enjoyable and memorable.
  • So, Woody Allen is now old and it is hard to believe that a rich and attractive girl played by Charlize Theron could be attracted to him... If you were truly thinking about that while watching The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, then you should reconsider the way you watch a movie. Sure, Allen is now really old, but who can play his role as well as he does. He sometimes casts other actors in that role, such as John Cusack in Bullet Over Broadway, but even though they do the job very well, they can't be better than the old man with the big glasses himself. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is not a serious Woody Allen movie. It is not one of his most important movies that is clear. But its aim is to entertain and entertain it does. Jade Scorpion shares a lot with Woody's recent light comedies such as Small Time Crooks and Manathan Murder Mystery. And like these two, it is certainly not a new Annie Hall. But it does not try to. It is just a lot of fun to watch. The script is funny, the acting is charming, the plot is just hilarious, and on the whole, this movie puts a smile on your face from the beginning to the end. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is another very nostalgic movie, like Radio Days, Sweet and Lowdown, Everyone Says I Love You and Bullets Over Broadway, but once again, Allen makes us forget for 103 minutes that he is basically doing nothing he hasn't done before. But the man once again shows his gift to entertain. And what more can you ask from an aging genius?

  • Warning: Spoilers
    I usually do not read movie reviews prior to actually seeing a film. This has a tendency to influence what I think, or even how I watch a movie. I made the mistake of reading a few reviews of The Curse of the Jade Scorpion before I watched it. As I watched Woody Allen's latest opus, a tribute to the quick-witted ‘screwball' comedies of the late 1930's and early 1940's, I found myself mentally arguing with the reviewers. The very issues they had with this movie were some of it's greatest features. The plotline for Scorpion is simple. Allen portrays an ‘old school' insurance company detective with a fantastic record for solving his cases. Helen Hunt is a `streamlining expert' brought in to bring the insurance company in-step with the `modern world' of the 1940's. Allen and Hunt's characters are like water and oil. The two are hypnotized (with a Jade Scorpion used to induce the trance, hence the title) in a stage show, and later the hypnotist calls on Allen to steal the very jewels his company insures; Allen has no knowledge he has done this. The fun ensues as Allen attempts to find the person responsible for the thefts. While this is an over simplification of the actual story, the actual story is perhaps too simple and predictable as well, but this is not the reason people go to Woody Allen movies. It is the well written dialog that fits each person delivering the lines; the meticulous attention to detail of a period movie that works like a time machine transporting the audience on a trip to sixty years in the past; the unpredictable humor that fills each predictable twist. These are things that makes this movie work.

    One review criticized the casting of Allen in the lead role. Allen, now 66, `was not believable in a romantic lead', and the critic went on to suggest that another actor should have been used. This thought was swimming through my mind throughout the two hours of the movie. Allen was perfect for the role. His character, C.W. Biggs, is an aging insurance investigator, with few redeeming characteristics. He is not supposed to be handsome or attractive. Yes, the Wood-Man is getting old, but it works for the movie. There are some unflattering shots where we see his Godfather-like jowls. This is not the same thirty-something guy from Bananas or Sleeper; he is a sixty-something old man. We need to accept this. It is apparent that the filmmaker has accepted this for himself, and tailored the film to work with this in mind. Helen Hunt's Betty Ann Fitzgerald can't stand C.W. in any way, and it is only after Volton (David Ogden Stires) hypnotizes her in a magic show does she not show that she loathes him. Sexy and rich socialite Laura Kensington, portrayed by the beautiful 26 year-old Charlize Theron, is attracted to Biggs because he the antithesis of her past conquests: something new and different. Sure, he could have cast someone else, perhaps Jason Alexander, into his Biggs role. While it would have certainly made an entertaining movie, there would have been something lost. Woody needs to be in Woody Allen movies. It just works.

    Another critic panned the casting of Elizabeth (Saved by the Bell, Showgirls) Berkley with such actors as Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, Wally Shawn, et al. True enough, Berkley's acting talents do not match up with the names I mentioned; but the casting of Berkley for the minor role of office secretary ‘Jill' is perfect nonetheless. Allen's attention to detail cannot be overlooked. I first noticed in his 1987 film, Radio Days, just how detail oriented he can be. As a musician, and something of an aficionado of vintage musical instruments, I always look for anachronisms in period movies when a band is featured. I can usually tell the year a wind instrument was made just by looking at it. Not only were all of the instruments true to the time portrayed, the label on the mute (a Humes and Berg ‘Stonelined') used by a trombone was correct for the period. One off the shelf in a music store today looks identical, except for small differences in the label. I was amazed that this level of detail was made. I am convinced this level of detail was made in the casting as well. This movie is not only set in New York in 1940, but also as a Hollywood movie made in 1940; clichés common to movie making of the time abounded. I believe the casting of Berkley in her role is another one of these details. A movie made in that time would have featured headliners from the stable of lead actors from a movie studio, or perhaps one loaned from another. These would be people in the roles Allen, Hunt and Aykroyd had. The role of the office secretary would not have been filled by a star, but by one of the studio's contract players sent to the production by central casting. There were many young, gorgeous actresses with questionable acting talent that were picked up by a studio in hopes of her developing into the flavor-of-the-week, or maybe for just a ride on the casting couch. Elizabeth Berkley filled this role flawlessly. She hit her marks, said her lines, and that's about it. I think it is just what the writer / director wanted.

    The ensemble cast all delivered credible performances. Like a film of the time, the only performances that stand out are those of the leads; it is Woody Allen and Helen Hunt's movie, as it should be. (William Powell and Myrna Loy stand out in front of the cast of 1934's The Thin Man, who remembers Nat Pendleton or Minna Gombel?) Dan Aykroyd plays an adulterant Insurance Company C.E.O. in much the same way as his dramatic performances in Driving Miss Daisy or My Girl: understated and credible. He allows the writing to do the comedy for him, without having to work at it. Charlize Theron's (Cider House Rules, The Astronaut's Wife) roll is smaller than her on-screen presence. She makes for a perfect 1940's screen vixen. David Ogden Stires always gives a good performance, and was able to shake the shadow of M*A*S*H's Maj. Winchester for a dead-perfect evil magician. Wallace Shawn in a Woody Allen movie is like having ice cream on a slice of cherry pie; always a welcome presence. You may also see a familiar face or two but can never place the name; John Schuck, a veteran movie and television actor (Sgt. Charlie Enright on TV's McMillon and Wife) is one of them. It is apparent that the writing was crafted for the star players, and terrific casting took care of the rest.

    Movies can be many things. Some can inspire, some can be extremely poignant. Others can just simply entertain. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion falls under the entertaining types. A perfect diversion as a weekend matinee, or as a follow-up to a nice dinner out, Scorpion does not make use of low-brow humor and stays true to the 1940's flair the movie, itself, portrays.

    With romantic interests like Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron, Woody Allen gives all men hope as we get older.
  • Most people seem to consider "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" a failure, either because of casting or the joke-a-minute script. But I think they're wrong about that. It's just that it was made about sixty years too late. It's really an homage to the sort of comedy/mysteries that were produced in the early forties -- the same time period in which the movie is set. Seems to me most people didn't get that. Maybe people these days don't watch enough old movies.

    Everyone was correct, of course, when they said Woody Allen was miscast (and since Woody Allen did the casting, he deserves the blame). But it's not that great a sin. Basically, this is a movie that should have been a vehicle for Bob Hope, but since Bob Hope wasn't exactly available in the year 2001, someone had to stand in for him. I daresay there isn't an actor in Hollywood these days who can do a good Bob Hope, and since there isn't, I have to say Woody Allen isn't such a bad substitute.

    Actually, I remember reading somewhere that Bob Hope was a major inspiration for the young Woody Allen, and he was stung in the late sixties when Hope told a few mean-spirited jokes about him. Maybe, all these years later, Woody Allen decided that all was forgiven.

    Anyway, don't let yourself be bothered by the fact that the lead actor is about 30 years too old for the part. Also, try to forget that nasty business with Soon-Yi. Just relax and let yourself laugh at the one-liners. Better yet, try and imagine that the lines are being delivered by someone with a ski-jump nose. You may see this movie for what it is -- a screamingly funny comedy, and the best movie Bob Hope never made.

    You know, someday Hollywood might find another actor who can play a role the way Bob Hope did, back in his heyday. And when that happens, this movie would be an excellent candidate for a remake.
  • 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.
  • I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys Woody Allen movies. I've always enjoyed the movies he's starred in, the roles he's played, and his self-deprecating yet undaunted sense of humor, and this movie proved true to all of this!

    Besides the comedy I expected in a Woody Allen movie, I found suspense, an excellent plot, and even some heart-warming romance.

    Helen Hunt plays one of his character's antagonists, as well as his love interest, forming a three-dimensional love triangle or pyramid, with Dan Aykroyd's character, their characters' boss, as the third member/cornerstone.

    Dan Aykroyd and Helen Hunt remained true to their forms in this movie, as the professional and unique actors they are, so if you like any or all three of these stars, you should enjoy "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion"!
  • 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.
  • Acting is great and the dialog smart and fresh. Well have you rolling in the isles. All the difference a bigger budget can do for Woody. The 1940's is caught in all it's splendor, with color and superb taste of decor. This is just a good evening of entertainment without all the special effects, and refreshing to see a role that a first rate actress can get her teeth into. Woody should be congratulated for taken second spot for Helen Hunt to shine in all her Glory. One of the best films this season in a run of death pan,juvenile comedies,without talent and very little acting. Makes you want the star system to be put back in place.
  • preppy-327 August 2001
    Comedy set in 1940 about an insurance investigator (Woody Allen) locking horns with an efficiency expert (Helen Hunt) while a string of suspicious jewel robberies are going on. Only average Allen comedy...but that's still 70% better than the typical Hollywood film.

    It's fairly well-acted...Allen is, frankly, way too old for this (he's 65 and he's getting women in their 20s and 30s??? PLEASE!) but he gives a good performance; Hunt is simply wonderful...she looks great in the 40s outfits and her verbal sparring with Allen was hilarious; Charlize Theron looks fantastic but is shamefully wasted and (in a huge surprise) Elizabeth Berkeley actually gives a halfway decent performance!

    The script is OK if a tad unbelievable. And the movie looks fantastic...the costumes and the sets really evoke the 1940s. So, it's OK, but no great shakes.
  • I really enjoyed this movie. Although it wasn't that well reviewed it was really very good if not his best work.

    This is a charming comedy mystery which is original and well written. There are lots of very good one liners you have to concentrate to catch. Many of the situations are delightful to watch unfold.

    The cast is good. Helen Hunt's deadpan insults are tailor made for her. Charlize is alluring - just wish she had more screen time.

    The main fault is Woody is a bit old looking for the romantic part of the role. I guess that's why he hasn't been acting in too many more of his own movies.
  • If you are real Woody Allen fan as I am, since the 1960's, We absolutely loved this movie. It was "Old funny" Woody as opposed to the newer more serious and strange Woody. This was vintage Woody at his best. 1940's, great music, very funny script, one liners and Woody just the way we love him. Helen Hunt was great and is now among one of the brighest movie stars we have. Charlize Theron is simply gorgeous and although she had a small part in this movie, she was her usual beautiful sexy self. We laughed and laughed and loved to see the old Woody back. At 65 he is still a writing and acting genius the likes of which do not exist in comedy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Even such a lightweight airy number by Woody Allen achieves a heft ordinary auteurs would strain to achieve. In this delightful comedy Allen exercises his love for 1940s crowd pleasers. The film mixes screwball comedy and gumshoe thriller. The script hits a Billy Wilder pace. The music, settings and stock characters recall Howard Hawks at his best. Allen's performance as the insurance investigator is arguably his clearest homage to Bob Hope. "She graduated from Vassar and I went to driving school. " The woman with a body that won't quit? "Quit? It won't take five minutes off for a coffee break." Does he want to see the siren's strawberry birthmark on her thigh? "Sure, when can I take the full tour?" And of course: "I may be a scummy vermin but I'm an honest scummy vermin." Lengthening the tradition - the Allen and Helen Hunt characters are a modern Beatrice and Benedick as they wallow in an articulate antagonism that could only belie their essential love. In the fireworks kissing scene Allen exuberantly explodes the perennial cliche. The film may lack the obvious philosophic underpinning of Allen's later work but it's cut from the same cloth. As in The Purple Rose of Cairo, Alice, his New York Stories episode and the later Magic in the Moonlight, etc., Allen uses variations on magic to shift his characters into another mode of experience. Here hypnosis is ambivalent in its purposes. In the stage act it moves CW and Sally Ann into their antithetical relationship, love supplanting their antagonism. But as every opening brings vulnerability, the two also serve the jewel thief hypnotist's criminal purposes. Hypnotism here serves as magic and art work for Allen elsewhere. It provides an escape from the "scummy...grungy" existence Allen always envisions the human condition to be, hungry for any possible escape or respite. The curse turns out to be a blessing. Indeed this idea may animate all of Allen's compulsive returns to the music and film genres of the past. We're cursed with mortality. What healthier insouciance than to ensure the immortality of the genres by which we used to connect?
  • This film was dull. But it was great to watch. What I mean is that, as usual, Allen is able to recreate the feel and idiom of another era. I thought he did this to perfection in Zelig. How does he recreate the colors, the atmosphere? Where does he find the coffeepots, the sequined turban? It probably all comes from growing up in the late 40's to early 50's. Then, memories of the immediate past (and what a past!) were very clear, 30's and 40's movies were still "new", and people still saw 30's educational films in the schoolroom. I see a combination of all this in Scorpion.

    Well, all that is great. So, I ended up enjoying the film only as a series of "stills", a series of vignettes, and a series of impressions. Though I admire the artifice a lot, the film as a whole was not so great. The plot idea was charming. But the execution was poor.
  • The basic storyline alone of this film is simple and has been repeated in various forms countless times. However it is the clever and extremly funny script that make this a very good film. I recommend it.

    While not a total departure for Woody, it is definitely a funny film paying homage to another era of filmmaking in many ways.
  • This looked like an attempt to do a slight but breezy Bob Hope comedy of the 1940s. In fact, it is set in 1940. A good idea for Woody who did do this well before. This one fails. Why? It was not crisp. Scenes were played with bad timing, incongruous acting styles and performers who seemed to have some difficulty in remembering their lines or recognizing their cues. Sloppy.

    There is supposed to be a thread of eroticism in the film, but the only performance with any sexual juice was Elizabeth Berkley as a sweet virginal office worker. She had charisma, but her part was small and she had no real significance in the plot.

    Woody Allen wasn't necessarily too old for his role; he was the wrong kind of old. The neurotic shtick that was so funny when he was young doesn't work for someone of his age. His character hasn't learned anything about life. He doesn't seem bumbling and cute; he seems old and dumb.
  • This is one movie that I'm glad I finally got to see! Woody Allen has proved time and again that he is one of the funniest actor/directors ever. This movie re-affirms that. Great casting as always. I wonder if stars come to Woody and ask if they can be in his movies.

    Curse of the Jade Scorpion finds Woody playing an insurance investigator who comes up against his match - an efficiency expert, played by Helen Hunt(superb casting!) After attending a party, and being hypnotized, they both take part in the thefts of diamonds from some of their insured clients. Very witty movie, and the fact that it's set in the 40's adds even more charm to it. Supporting cast members include Charlize Theron, David Ogden Stiers, and, surprise, sruprise, Dan Akroyd. Supreme mixture of talent in this movie, and it shows all the way through it.

    See this movie if you want a lot of laughs. Thank you Woody, for yet another great funny movie.
  • tedg31 August 2001
    Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers herein.

    Woody is uneven, that's no news. The amazing thing is the variety in which are considered the good ones. By my yardstick, `Crimes and Misdemeanors' is sophomoric drek, and `Sweet and Lowdown' is one of the cleverest films made. (Both had excellent actors as anchors.)

    Here comes the latest which starts out with Woody the writer/director's curse: Woody the actor. Usually, he gets in the way of his vision as a writer. This time, he writes better for himself as an actor: lots of physical comedy designed for his gawky mannerisms -- lots and lots of one-liners, so rapid and numerous its hard to imagine them popping out in his couple-week writing drills.

    Its amusing. See it.

    Woody is a director of situations not actors or effects. He just collects good actors and assumes they know what to do. Altman works this way too, Problem is that good actors have different acting styles, and the better ones really diverge. Without a common vision to guide them, those differences can whip you from one world to the other.

    Thus we have Akroyd's ironic delivery next to Hunt's very clean honesty. We have Wallace Shawn's mastery of playing several dimensions simultaneously next to Woody's broad japes. If you are a serious watcher, this strobing of realities will make you dizzy (dizzy bad not good as in `Moulin Rouge').
  • crypticcrytic24 August 2001
    Would that all of us could have the power of Woody Allen. Forget the Jade Scorpion that could give you riches, power and enormous control over your friends or better, your enemies. Woody has beautiful starlets (Charize Theron), maturing Dames (Helen Hunt) and former showgirls (Elizabeth Berkley) willing to drop their commitments to make far more just to appear in this master's film. Then of course there's the opportunity to play out Woody's fantasies. How we suffer for our art.

    This formulaic Allen comedy has more vintage standup lines than three of his last offerings. Woody why have you waited so long? Close your eyes and imagine the skinny, self-conscious former writer delivering subtle self-deprecation. Now you've got it.

    Take me back to the '40's New York, Big Band, black coupes, fedoras and a pre-politically-correct era allowing us to wisecrack, lust and gaze without sanction. I think Mr. Allen pines for this freedom from humorless judgment and liberation from censors on either side of the political spectrum. But I project.

    CW Biggs and Miss Betty Ann Fitzgerald have a serious love-to-hate relationship. They're natural enemies as the intelligent, progressive, scientific-management insultant vs. practical, intuitive, seat-of the pants working stiff who's success taunts Betty Ann. Woody delivers his lines flawlessly and Ms. Hunt deserves credit for a stretch performance. Her earlier award winning jobs prepared her well for the non-stop repartee demanded by the script.

    I'm reminded of a classic bit by Monty Python of the chartered accountant wanting to be a lion tamer. What's more exciting than the life of an insurance investigator? (remember Memento?) Next we'll see the thrilling escapades of a career counselor. What is Hollywood projecting?

    Are there any other characters of note? There's the usual collection of performers who feed Woody and his lover/hater set-up lines to build the plot. Dan Ackroyd is at his sleazy best and Wallace Shawn inspires sympathy, Charlize Theron is believable and David Ogden Stiers mesmerizes us. But why did we really spend our 10 bucks and two hours?

    This film may amuse, annoy or revive your spirits. The old Woody is back. If it took a scorpion bite, it was worth it. There's certain energy to his films - nervous energy and we all could use another dose.

  • penandpaper5224 October 2006
    This isn't an artistic film and it isn't an academy award film but it is woody allen comedy at its finest. Of all of the films he's made in the recent decades this one is most reminiscent of the Woody Allen standup that first brought this genius to the world's attention. With every one of his movies there is a reason to love it. Sometimes that reason may not work for you, and so it goes. But if what you love is classic comedy delivered with great timing and character you cannot beat this film. Unlike so many modern Hollywood comedies--and even unlike so many Allen comedies for that matter--this one delivers the jokes regularly, tastefully and within a tightly packaged story. It's far fetched, sure. It wraps up in a predictable way? Of course! But it moves along nicely, never steps outside of its own defined boundaries and the characters are clever and true. To show his true genius and artistic merit look to Match Point, and Sweet and Lowdown, but for sheer entertainment and enjoyment value, add this to your collection as the best Woody has offered us in at least ten years.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Woody Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion has moments of hilarity and has delightful characters that fumble around in often comic irony, but it doesn't totally add up to something I'd expect from a Woody comedy. Still, with a plot like this (hypnotism being used on a insurance detective to help heist jewels with him not knowing about it) and some excellent lines (ex: Do you know what someone is called when they think everybody is conspiring against them? Yes, perceptive!), the flaws are somewhat diminished. Helen Hunt plays Allen's possible romantic interest (more or less), Dan Aykroyd plays the boss of the insurance agency),and Charlize Theron has possibly the sauciest role of the film (wonder how Woody got her?) B+
  • The most remarkable aspect of this movie is the huge audience that can enjoy it. People of very different ages and cultural backgrounds will have a nice time watching it. Even people who usually dislike Woody Allen will enjoy too, because of the optimistic comedy style in which the film is based. Fun and optimistic.
  • This movie flows with the style that you come to expect with a Woody Allen film. The characters are great and the situations between the two main characters are simply amazing. This movie really deserves a 10 out of 10.
  • The Characters: Wooden, stale and little feelings or concern for.

    The Plot: Extremely predictable.

    Dialogue: Yes I know 40's dialogue is different from today but do we have to stick to cheesy and lame cliches?

    Humor: Just not that funny. I giggled a few times but definitely not the Woody Allen of old.

    Dan Ackroyd: When was the last movie this man was in that was any good or financially successful? Blues brothers? Ghost Busters? Producers beware of the curse of Dan Ackroyd.

    Helen Hunt: Already type casted as the bitch with the heart of gold. Julia Roberts she's not.

    Woody Allen: It pains me to say this but the schtick is old. The revenge of the nerd routine was funny in the 60s to the 80s but lets try something new. Sid Caeser and Milton Berle I'm sure were avant garde in the 40s but as far as being fresh and funny today, its like week old bread: stale and with no flavor... Woody its time for something new, forget about homage to stale bread.

    Conclusion: I don't know how I reached the end of this movie... maybe there were subliminal messages that compeled me to finish it. I write this now immediately after watching it on video because I know by tomorrow this movie will have dissapeared from the recesses of my memory with nothing to show for it except a wasted 90 minutes.
  • erniemunger4 December 2005
    Of all things, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is a smart piece of unadulterated nostalgia. Replete with false bottoms, this endearing and highly subjective homage to pre-War screwball comedy is a treat for anyone who thinks that cinema has something to say about collective representations and the substantial role it has played therein, and continues to do. Claiming that 60-year-old Allen is an unconvincing womanizer comically misses the point, just like the oft-repeated criticism of the pervasive anachronisms (as, most notably, in the lingo). For Allen surely never intended to come up with a "historic" movie that had an "authentic" feel. After all, and thank God or Allen's mother, Allen is not Spielberg. How could any of these dim-witted critics have missed the point that the plot revolves around a magician, an epitome of the fake? Allen's 1940s setting is nothing less than a compendium of the collective (conscious and unconscious) imagery associated with that time, shaped by the emerging medium of that time and its subsequent self-representations. By an irreverent reversal of proof, you could say that the film ultimately reflects the bitter-sweet view of an aging filmmaker on the goings of his trade, which is all the more worthy considering the current state of mainstream American cinema. Grant you that the dialogues are in part redundant, as are some of Allen's and Hunt's antics, and that the "message" (love strikes blind) is of no groundbreaking consequence, but if you are interested in the history and workings of film (and actually TV series), this Jade is a gem.
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