Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. United Kingdom/USA, 2006. BBC Films, Ingenious Film Partners, Phoenix Wiley, Jelly Roll Productions. Screenplay by Woody Allen. Cinematography by Remi Adefarasin. Produced by Letty Aronson, Gareth Wiley. Production Design by Maria Djurkovic. Costume Design by Jill Taylor. Film Editing by Alisa Lepselter.
A dead journalist (Ian McShane) on his way to the underworld is informed by another recently departed soul that her former employer (Hugh Jackman) might be the seral killer who has been terrorizing London with a series of prostitute slayings. Scarlett Johansson plays an ambitious journalism student who attends a vaudeville show in London and, while volunteering for a stunt by a hilariously inept magician (Woody Allen), is visited by McShane and instructed to go after Jackman as the scoop of the decade. She teams up with the magician and throws herself in Jackman’s path, only to find herself falling in lust with a man who might be a murderer. After an uncomfortably rocky start, this film is delightfully fun as it warms up, with writer-director Allen showcasing some of his wittiest dialogue in years. The downside, unfortunately, is that the wonderful Johansson is painfully miscast as a Brooklyn Jewish college student with Anxiousness written across her forehead, and her chemistry with Jackman is zilch; he looks more like he’s seducing his girlfriend’s little sister than a peer. Features a small bit by the lovely Fenella Woolgar.