Filled with plenty of moments that make you laugh out loud, more that make you smile, but nearly derailed by the casting of its leading lady, Woody Allen's 2001 THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION is an enjoyable comedy/mystery/romance.
Woody stars as legendary old-school insurance investigator CW Briggs. His world has been disrupted by his boss bringing in a fiery and demanding efficiency expert named Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt).
His Boss Magruder (Dan Aykroyd) has eyes for Betty Ann, and she for him, and Betty and CW detest each other.
When a company night out finds them watching the magician and hypnotist Voltan (a perfectly smarmy David Ogden Stiers), Betty Ann and CW are hypnotized into believing they are madly in love.
He also manages to hypnotize CW with code words that allow him to control him and erase all memory of doing so.
Under Voltan's spell, CW begins robbing his clients, defeating the elaborate safety measures he's put in place.
So what happens when you start investigating a clever thief that you have no idea is...yourself?
Charlize Theron and Wallace Shawn both bring very different things to the table in great style and Woody is very, very funny throughout.
Some of his best lines to Betty Ann expressing his dislike for her:
"Germs can't live in your blood, its too cold."
"We're a match made in heaven...by a retarded angel."
"We'll have lunch. I know a great restaurant you'll love. Gestapo food".
The one liners are fast and furious and perfectly delivered.
Except for Hunt. She's going for a Hepburn/Tracy type banter, but Allen's rapid fire dialogue never rolls off her tongue. She's an ill fit in a great cast and she almost kills the whole damn movie.
Thankfully we have Woody's writing and delivery and a fun little mystery along with way.
When CW asks Betty Ann, "Are you divorced or widowed? Did your husband commit suicide? I could understand that." it sets the tone that he just keeps rolling.
The only curse here is the miscast Hunt.
Jade Scorpion has plenty of humor with a nice sting and gets a B.