The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
2 out of 5 stars
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love stings This is from the enjoyable fluff section of the Woody Allen filmography--a loopy comedy with sharp dialog and an improbable comic plot that keeps us entertained. Allen stars as CW Briggs, a 1940 insurance detective who has a knack for solving crimes. He's engaged in a battle of wits with the firm's new efficiency expert Betty Ann (Hunt), who's having a fling with the boss (Aykroyd). On an office night out, CW and Betty Ann are hypnotized as part of the nightclub show, but the magician (Stiers) leaves a post-hypnotic suggestion that lets him use CW to rob his own clients. So he's now investigating his own crimes. And Betty Ann is discovering that there's more to him than meets the eye.

First things first: Yes, this is yet another Woody Allen film in which beautiful women throw themselves at him. Not only Hunt, but Berkley (as the office bimbo) and Theron (as a client's slutty daughter). Sure, Allen undercuts himself with a heavy dose of hilarious self-deprecation, but honestly! This is a recurring flaw in his films that takes us out of the story completely. Otherwise, this is an enjoyable comic romp, with Allen capturing the brainy banter of vintage office comedies. It's very funny, and very quick! Almost every line has a rude joke in it that you can catch only if you're paying close attention. And the film is directed in the same period style, with amber hues, simple sets and cleverly staged screwball. The performances are all very good, although they're somewhat uneven, like everyone is in a different film--dryly ironic (Aykroyd), earnestly unflappable (Hunt), sharp but very flappable (Allen), sophisticated wit (Shawn), sultry vixen (Theron), and so on. Ah well, even a mediocre Woody Allen film is better than most of what's out there! And this one is certainly enjoyable enough to keep us laughing for a couple of hours.

cert 12 adult themes and situations, innuendo 1.Nov.02

dir-scr Woody Allen
with Woody Allen, Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Berkley, Brian Markinson, Wallace Shawn, David Ogden Stiers John Schuck, Michael Mulheren, Peter Linari, Irwin Corey
release US 24.Aug.01; UK 6.Dec.02
01/US 1h43

You are feeling sleepy. A hypnotist plants a few suggestive urges on CW and Betty Ann (Allen, Stiers, Hunt)...

hunt allen theron
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2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall