Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Review of Curse of the Jaded Scorpion (2001)

One of Woody Allen's more underrated films, in my opinion, Curse of the Jaded Scorpion is what I see as a burlesque take on his earlier comic persona. The complaint about Woody Allen around this time (and still is) was that he was too old to convincingly play the leading man opposite attractive ladies half his age. Much more self-conscious of his humor than most realize, Allen responds with more absurdity, pairing himself opposite girls way younger and more attractive than he's ever shared the screen with, as Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron and Saved by the Bell's Elizabeth Berkley costar.

Allen plays a private eye in the 1930s era (fair warning for any history buffs: not much effort is put into historic recreation) his love interest played by Hunt is a woman who wants to modernize the police department where he works, and get rid of him and his old-fashioned ways. This is an obvious parallel to Allen's aging, showing once more his willingness to poke fun at himself.

The gimmick of the movie is that Allen and Hunt are hypnotized into falling in love with each other for the purpose of committing crimes for a drug overlord. This makes it especially difficult for Woody Allen to do his job and find the criminal, considering he is the criminal, and while it's an overly convenient gimmick to set two plots together, it leads to sets us up for some pretty good laughs, highlighted all the way through by some of Woody Allen's best one-liners.

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