MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Woody Allen, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Ian McShane. Comedy/suspense. Writer/Director: Woody Allen.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In Woody Allen's new contemporary comedy, a college journalist (Scarlett Johansson), visiting friends in London, happens upon the scoop of a lifetime. Aided by a mediocre magician and the spirit of a dead reporter, the neophyte sleuth investigates a British aristocrat (Hugh Jackman), whom she suspects to be a serial killer, and whom she is falling for.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The film begins with a middle-aged reporter discovering he has died and sailing into eternity, the vessel captained by the scythe-carrying Grim Reaper. On board the dead reporter is given a clue from a fellow passenger that will solve a case involving several murders. So he jumps ship, temporarily escaping deaths journey, in order to work on the case. This opening is extremely funny, and very clever. Whats more, its just the first of many humorous plot developments.

If you appreciate Mr. Allens neurotic comic inventiveness and narrative intricacy, this will surely please. Here Woody is in top form, as is his costar, Scarlett Johansson, who stretches her thespian wings and flies gracefully into the world of whimsy.

Scoop is inventive, somewhat layered, and often hysterical. Sad to add, there is a fly in the ointment. Besides the implied sexual romps between Ms. Johansson and Hugh Jackman, there is the misuse of Gods name. Where Mr. Allen has avoided the crudity and obscenity found in most of todays comic adventures, he still manages to use Jesus name, and that of our Heavenly Father, as a means of relieving frustration. Nearly halfway through, suddenly, Mr. Allen utters his customary Jesus. A few moments later, Ms. Johansson follows that irreverence with Christ. Four times our Lords name is spoken without spiritual regard, and in the last scene, Mr. Allen uses Gods name followed by a curse.

Its another film that maintains sex before marriage is an accepted social practice. Though the scenes are not graphic, it is clear that the characters in this film have little moral objection to jumping in the sack with a person they barely know. But this is not what grieves me. I come back to the characters misuse of our Saviors name. I realize this occurs in nearly every movie aimed at grownups, but its still like hearing nails on a chalk board to the Christians soul. Though Mr. Allen is a gifted storyteller and a comic genius who often incorporates the question of Gods existence into his works, he is not a man who honors the holiness of the creator or respects the Christian belief that Jesus is the son of God. Hes probably not trying to be offensive. That name simply has no spiritual meaning for him.

I make it a policy not to tell people to go to this movie, stay away from that one. And Im not going to start now. Given the synopsis and content, I believe moviegoers can use their own consciousness to decide whether to support a movie. The picture is funny, a witty vehicle for its stars, but Scoop is also a film that, while steering clear of all other objectionable language, profanes the names we hold most dear. So, let that consciousness be your guide.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Focus Features

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One partially told crude joke.

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: three Js, 2 Cs and 1 GD

Violence: Though the subject of a serial killer is a main plot point, we do not see any actual killings. A woman is pushed off a boat and it appears she is drowning.

Sex: Two sexual situations. We see the couple kissing and sleeping together, but no graphic activity.q

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: A couple of quick sexual references, but nothing crude.

Drugs: People drink wine in a couple of scenes.

Other: None

Running Time: 96 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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