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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.33%
Worth A Look36%
Just Average: 28%
Pretty Crappy: 12%
Sucks: 18.67%

9 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The
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by EricDSnider

"Unimpressive, mildly entertaining comedy from a man who used to be better."
3 stars

Woody Allen has lost it. Last year's "Small Time Crooks," while funny, was so slight it went unnoticed. Now, "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is so limp and weak it practically evaporates on the screen.

It's not a film you dislike. Nothing in it is egregiously stupid, amateurish or annoying. It's an old-fashioned comedy that, for all its effort, is never anything more than gentle and quaint.

Writer/director Allen stars as CW Briggs, a New York insurance investigator in 1940. He's the best in the business, stuck in his ways, unkempt and a hopeless skirt-chaser.

The woman who will tame him is no-nonsense Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt), an efficiency expert hired to improve the firm's work habits. She and CW clash, of course, and engage in a great deal of barbed dialogue. "I don't want people to think I'm with you," she says as she scoots away from him at a bar. "Why?" he replies. "Do I look like an organ-grinder?"

While celebrating a co-worker's birthday at a nightclub, Betty Ann and CW are hypnotized by a con artist (David Ogden Stiers). He makes them think they're madly in love, and gives them each a keyword as a post-hypnotic suggestion. He ends the session, everyone laughs, and everything's back to normal.

Until a few nights later, when the hypnotist calls CW on the phone, says the keyword -- "Constantinople" -- and instructs him to steal a bunch of jewels from the Kensington mansion. CW's the right man for the job, as he's learned all about burgling while working as an insurance investigator. Next day, CW is called in to investigate the very crime he perpetrated, which he now has no memory of.

These are fun ideas, to be sure, and you can't blame Woody Allen for wanting to try them. But the script is watery and lifeless, sparked by a few good moments but overall uneventful. The film's slow pace doesn't help build comedy momentum, either. We get some funny lines every 10 minutes or so, and then pleasant blandness.

The cast is fun to watch, though. Wallace Shawn is in there, and Dan Aykroyd plays CW and Betty Ann's boss. Charlize Theron shows up at the requisite femme fatale. Elizabeth Berkley hangs around. Being in a Woody Allen film used to be a treat for actors, but if the scripts he churns out are going to be this dull from now on, perhaps that day has passed.

There is a certain amount of charm in the proceedings; period pieces are usually nice, and 1940 Manhattan was a lovely time. Allen's fondness for the city comes through loud and clear, as does his affection for the screwball comedies of that era that inspired "Jade Scorpion." Good intentions aside, though, the film fails to do much more than wile away a couple hours.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5342&reviewer=247
originally posted: 08/19/01 19:07:16
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User Comments

4/25/05 Indrid Cold Featherweight, marginally funny drama. Doesn't really do anything particularly bad or good 3 stars
4/07/04 john one of Allens less sucessful recent ventures - not that funny 2 stars
6/17/03 Andrew Callaway Dispite what some people might tell you... it's actually pretty good. 4 stars
5/19/03 George Jung One of the best movies of 2001. 5 stars
5/11/03 Jack Bourbon Well, I thought it was funny. 4 stars
4/18/03 Ubu the Ripper Not one of Woody's best, but not bad. 4 stars
1/12/03 Jack Sommersby Tired and unremarkable. Woody needs some fresh ideas, people. 2 stars
6/01/02 Chris The bouncing score keeps the film fun, fresh, and funny. 4 stars
3/27/02 HHfan Helen Hunt is THE BEST ACTRESS ever!!! 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver I thought it was quite fun. Have some popcorn. Laugh. 4 stars
2/08/02 Regurja Tate Want good anachronistic acting? Go to Helen Hunt for it! 3 stars
9/17/01 Bud A no brainer campy mystery, fun cast, great period decor, Woody is Woody. 3 stars
9/16/01 Bri good film for what it was. Bang the girl next time thou! 4 stars
9/14/01 Albie Great Allen dialoge, Good banter and great one-liners. Enjoyed 4 stars
9/09/01 Nessus Some good barbs. Fun to watch, Dan Aykroyd felt weird though. 4 stars
9/08/01 Heather Essential for Woody fans, full of sharp insults and funny wisecracks 5 stars
8/26/01 spaceworm "Jaded" would be more like it. 2 stars
8/23/01 steve aubin when i watch this movie, i urinate like a hippo 5 stars
8/21/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Great Goddess, when did Woody Allen die? Why hasn't anyone told him he's a living corpse? 1 stars
8/20/01 nat good movie e.berkley good casting did agreat job 4 stars
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  24-Aug-2001 (PG-13)


  28-Mar-2002 (M)

Directed by
  Woody Allen

Written by
  Woody Allen

  Woody Allen
  Dan Aykroyd
  Elizabeth Berkley
  Helen Hunt
  Charlize Theron
  Wallace Shawn

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