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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.33%
Worth A Look36%
Average: 28%
Pretty Bad: 12%
Total Crap: 18.67%

9 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The
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by Brian McKay

"The only thing more unbelievable than Woody as a ladies man is him being 67"
3 stars

I just don't get it. This guy has had more tail than a rollercoaster . . . but . . . LOOK AT HIM? How does this bastard do it? How does he end up marrying his ex-girlfriend's adopted daughter, some nubile hot young asian babe, and yet people still love him? I mean, isn't that the kind of scandal that Roman Polanski had to flee the country for? So how does he do it???Well, fuck if I know. At any rate, though I've never been a huge Allen fan, but I've enjoyed some of his work in the past - and I have to say he's done much better.

Okay, I think for most people a little Woody goes a long way. His cloying nebbishness gets old quickly, but he does have a singular wit and some kind of indefinable charm about him, though I've never understood how that alone can turn the man into a sex symbol. However, he is capable of delivering some funny material when the chips are down, and he is definitely quick with a one-liner.

Unfortunately, that's about all Jade Scorpion is, a series of pretty amusing one-liners (one of my favorites: when a pair of nylons that could be incriminating evidence is found in his apartment, he says "Hey, those could be anybody's. I see a lot of women coming through here. I'm not saying they're all winners, but, you know, I get action."). Sadly, the plot that is used to string them together is stale and predictable, an attempted homage to the 1940's gumshoe pulp novels that pretty much falls flat on its ass. Woody plays CW Briggs, the insurance investigator who is at-odds with the new office efficiency expert, Betty-Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt). They can't stand each other, of course, until they attend an employee gathering at a nightclub and are hypnotized together during the act by the "Jade Scorpion" (David Ogden Stiers). He plants key words in each of their heads, uses the key words to put them into a trance, and then convinces them they are in love. Of course, once they wake up from the act, they are back to bickering as usual, but the key words are conveniently left in place. The Jade Scorpion then begins calling CW in the middle of the night, putting him under and telling him to use his knowledge and expertise to go rip off wealthy clients of his own insurance company and hide the goods, then makes him wake up without remembering any of it. Eventually, CW is able to figure out how to foil the Jade Scorpion, and convince Betty Ann, while in a suggestive hypnotic state, that she really does love him (Which, come to think of it, must be how he talked Soon-Yi into it).

It's pretty ridiculous and far-fetched, even for a Woody Allen film, and serves only as a springboard for Allen to make wisecracks to Hunt and the rest of the supporting cast. While there are some genuinely funny lines, it meets the bare minimum laugh requirement that we would expect from an Allen film -though when it comes down to it, they are all basically the same film, aren't they? For me, at least, trying to tell Woody Allen movies apart is like trying to distinguish the works of Steven Segal. At any rate, we are left to plod through the utterly predictable tale with just enough laugh out loud moments to keep us from napping or heading to the snack bar. I normally love period pieces set in the 1940's, especially the hard-boiled detective type. But strangely enough, this one does nothing for me. Then again, Woody Allen isn't exactly Mike Hammer.

A little of Woody definitely goes a long way, and Jade Scorpion, while being too little, still satiated any desire I may have had to watch a Woody Allen film for at least a year or two. I think I'd rather listen to the Jerky Boys incarnation of him, Sal Rosenberg - although, come to think of it, that shit gets old fast too.

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originally posted: 09/16/01 19:01:37
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User Comments

4/26/05 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
6/18/03 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
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Well, I thought it was funny. 4 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper Not one of Woody's best, but not bad. 4 stars
1/13/03 Jack Sommersby Tired and unremarkable. Woody needs some fresh ideas, people. 2 stars
6/02/02 Chris The bouncing score keeps the film fun, fresh, and funny. 4 stars
3/28/02 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
9/18/01 Bud A no brainer campy mystery, fun cast, great period decor, Woody is Woody. 3 stars
9/17/01 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
9/10/01 Nessus Some good barbs. Fun to watch, Dan Aykroyd felt weird though. 4 stars
9/09/01 Heather Essential for Woody fans, full of sharp insults and funny wisecracks 5 stars
8/27/01 spaceworm "Jaded" would be more like it. 2 stars
8/24/01 steve aubin when i watch this movie, i urinate like a hippo 5 stars
8/22/01 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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