Curse of the Jade Scorpion

Bomb Rating: 

Woody Allen's schtick is the only thing more withered than his skeletal little ass. When actresses appear in his movies it's like they're prostituting themselves. In exchange for cash payments, they have to kiss Woody or sleep with Woody or, in the case of Charlize Theron, flash Woody. While one presumes Theron didn't actually go topless (since the audience doesn't see anything), the mere thought of Woody's hungry, bloodshot eyes devouring Theron's young chest is itself sickening. Have I made these points before?

Don't think Allen isn't fully aware of the worldwide disgust over his cinematic antics. To allay those feelings, insurance investigator C.W. Briggs (Allen) is called every name under the sun by the firm's new efficiency expert, Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt). He also fields invective from Laura Kensington (Theron) as he investigates her robbed house.

It would be bad enough if this were one of Allen's usual, modern neurotic tales, but he's chosen to set this one in 1940. Briggs and Fitzgerald, who absolutely hate each other, are hypnotized at a club. The hypnotist (David Ogden Stiers) calls Briggs up later, says the magic word, and "persuades" him to rob the houses his company insures. Thus, Briggs ends up investigating himself.

Instead of concentrating on the set as a new platform for exposing his neurosis to anyone left in the world who might care, Allen should have invested in making the story less predictable than Roger Ebert at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Everything that happens after Briggs and Fitzgerald are hypnotized will shock and surprise no one. Incidentally, there are some really alarming double-chin shots of Helen Hunt in this film. Watch for them. And speaking of double chins, Dan Aykroyd has about four pairs of them. Did he marry Donna Dixon or did he eat her? Pardon me, I think I'm having deja vu.

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