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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Plot Overview

Funeral Speaker (Jim Dunk): “Don't mourn for Joe Strombel. Joe Strombel had a full life. A news­paper man in the best tradition. A great credit to the Fourth Estate. It didn't matter if the bombs of the war zone were falling; it didn't matter how high up the political scandal went, or how many big corporations or small time racketeers leaned on him. What­ever the risk, if there was a story there, Joe went after it. And he usually got it.”

Nostradamus pictureAdair College journalism student Sondra “Jade Spence” Pransky (Scarlett Johansson) while vacationing in London attempts to inter­view famous director Mike Tinsley (Kevin R. McNally) and fails miserably (“You're a novice; you're inexperienced.”) Her friend she's staying with, one Vivian Fulton (Romola Garai,) invites her to accompany her and her little brother to a magic show. There she is picked for a “dangerous experiment” by presti­digit­ator Sidney “Splendini” Waterman (Woody Allen.) She's to be dematerialized on stage in a home­made plywood box. Right! While in limbo she receives a news tip from Joe Strombel him­self, also in limbo.

Against his better judgment Sidney helps her go undercover to dig up dirt on aristocrat Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) who for his part takes her under the covers—it being a Woody Allen film—as he's charmed by her American simplicity. The original tip results in more smoke than substance, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a coverup for a related crime.


ElijahJoe Strombel the fearless news­paper man lends himself to comparison with the renowned prophet Elijah who in his day tackled corrupt kings and idol worshippers. Elijah was famously known for calling down fire from heaven (1Kings 18:36-38) after first dousing the wood fuel with water. His departure from this world, attended by neophyte Elisha, occurred in this manner: (2Kings 2:7-10)

“And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: never­the­less, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.”

In the movie we have various newsmen in a bar commemorating Joe Strombel “wherever he is,” and in the good book fifty sons of the prophets viewing Elijah from afar. In the movie Joe is being ferried across the River Styx by the ferry­man Charon (of Greek mythology) to Hades. He then attempts to bridge the gap to the living one last time by slipping into the river to emerge in the magician's box. It's uncertain whether this will work. Elijah has parted the Jordan with his mantle. (2Kings 2:11-14)

“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirl­wind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horse­men thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.”

In the movie Sondra—as Jade Spence—slips into the swimming pool at the Governor's Club pretending to drown to get the attention of swimmer Peter Lyman to save her. Her work pursuing Joe's “last big scoop” ends up “full circle” in a private lake where she is indeed left to drown.

(2Kings 2:15) “And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.” When Sondra's big story breaks in The London Observer, its editor Mr. Malcolm (Charles Dance) will commend her investigative journalism, and she will “share the inspiration with Joe Strombel.”

Production Values

” (2006) was written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Jim Dunk, Woody Allen, and Ian McShane. Johansson did a smashingly good job with Allen's gonzo script. The acting is generally fine, though Allen is looking a little worse for the wear though energized for an old man.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for some sexual content. The sex scenes are off camera, all of them, and out of ear­shot. Sondra and Vivian display a cavalier attitude towards sex in their girl talk, but Woody's character Sidney tempers it with advice on possible pregnancy, reputation of promiscuity, and on Peter's side vulnerability to blackmail (from a tart.) Well-built Johansson was modestly attired at all times. The hunk Hugh appeared shirt­less in some of his scenes.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This is a clever little Woody Allen film. It's similar to other Woody Allen comedies with words spilling out all over each other. I'm not a particular fan of Allen, but that said, it was alright.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.