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"Curse of the Jade Scorpion" Movie Review



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I need to begin this by confessing that I'm not a Woody Allen fan. Though I enjoy some of his earlier films, I can't honestly say that I look forward to his movies. I believe that his films from 20 years ago comprise his best work, and, unfortunately, that opinion came through unscathed after viewing his latest effort, "Curse of the Jade Scorpion."

What was wrong with the film? A quick, easy answer would be to say that Woody Allen should not have cast himself as the romantic lead. Witnessing the efforts of Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, and Elizabeth Berkley as they tried to make the audience believe they - seemingly normal, intelligent, beautiful women - could lust after Allen, was actually painful, and a bit creepy, to watch. Another answer to what went wrong lies with the outdated jokes and slim storyline. The basic plot revolves around a hypnotist, Voltan, who uses a jade scorpion necklace to hypnotize audience members as part of his act. The victims - CW Briggs and his firm's new office efficiency expert, Betty Ann Fitzgerald - are put under, told they are in love (when in fact they despise each other), and then brought out of hypnosis. However, the hypnotist left each victim with a key word implanted in their subconscious - a word that when said will immediately place his two victims back under, allowing him to control them at his whim. Knowing that Briggs and Fitzgerald work for an insurance firm that safeguards wealthy homeowners, and that both have access to all the inside information on hidden alarms, along with combinations to their clients safes, Voltan commands his victims to steal from their own clients, without being aware they are performing the burglaries. Added to the plot is a storyline involving Betty Ann and the boss, and an antagonistic relationship between Betty Ann and CW. Sounds interesting? Regrettably, the story sounds better on paper than it plays out on the screen.

Fans of Allen may find this film enjoyable, but I had a hard time staying even mildly interested in the onscreen shenanigans. Allen's talent, and script, would have been better served behind the camera, with a younger actor taking over the part of CW Briggs. The romantic storyline is so far-fetched that it drew me out of the movie and left me feeling uncomfortable.

Overall Grade: D-

"Curse of the Jade Scorpion" is rated PG-13 for some sexual content.


Director: Woody Allen
Producer: Letty Aronson
Screenplay: Woody Allen
Cinematographer: Zhao Fei
Film Editor: Alisa Lepselter
Production Design: Santo Loquasto
Casting: Laura Rosenthal and Juliet Taylor
Costume Design: Suzanne McCabe

CW Briggs - Woody Allen
Betty Ann Fitzgerald - Helen Hunt
Chris Magruder - Dan Aykroyd
George Bond - Wallace Shawn
Laura Kensington - Charlize Theron
Jill - Elizabeth Berkley
Voltan - David Ogden Stiers
Al - Brian Markinson


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