Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 08/20/01 06:05:07

"Another dated Woody Allen(tm) film."
3 stars (Average)

In 1975 it was probably a big deal for a nerdy little guy to make movies where everyone talks about sex. I've never seen the appeal in a Woody Allen film. Maybe it was the cutting edge thing to be into with the swinging set. Whatever he does, he's good at it, I just don't see why anyone should care. Long time fans of Allen films will probably like this, judging from the well-timed chortles from the audience. "That Woody, what a loveable little cad". Whatever. Curse of the Jade Scorpion is another Allen sex comedy that relies on an old old stage trick - hypnotism. I think I saw this in a Popeye cartoon, and a Flintstones cartoon and even a Scooby Doo cartoon.

Helen Hunt stars opposite Allen in a very tired plot. Allen goes digging deep into the archives for this one. Set in the 40's in an insurance office in where else, Manhattan, two people (Hunt and Allen) are hypnotized on stage after swearing that they can't be hypnotized. Of course, they loathe each other and they hypnotist makes them fall madly in love. The audience laughs. It's really stupid. When in their hypnotic trance, they do that monotonous "I ... am ... hypnotiiiiized" zombie thing. Turns out the hypnotist is also a very clever criminal. Allen is an insurance investigator who designs security for all the wealthy New York families. Under hypnosis, he breaks into the homes and steals the jewels. An investigation ensues and Allen proclaims his innocence even as all the evidence points directly at him.

Eventually they figure the whole thing out. There is some showdown in a fireworks factory with the hypnotist and it turns out that Hunt actually does fall in love with Allen and she leaves her fiancÚ (Dan Akroyd) to marry him. They actually do that "fireworks going off when they kiss" thing. * yawn *

So now that I've ruined the movie for you, you can move on and find something more au courant to watch, like Tim Blake Nelson/ Lions Gate's, O with Josh Hartnett and Martin Sheen. Avoid Allen's rip-off of Shakespeare posing as originality and see Nelson's powerful modern adaptation of Othello.

I don't think there is anything clever or challenging about Woody Allen anymore. Granted, he's got his whole weasely thing down but the character he plays is annoying and the plot is completely unoriginal. It would have been better as a cartoon with celebrity voice-overs, that's how buffoonish and old-fashioned this film is. And I still wouldn't like it.

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