Friday, November 18, 2016

THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION (2001)

1940, New York City.  Woody Allen is an insurance investigator who has an outstanding success rate thanks to his numerous underworld connections and his ability to "think like a criminal". His glory days might be coming to an end though when the insurance company he works for hires an efficiency expert (Helen Hunt) to streamline the office.  She's even considering getting rid of the investigation division altogether! Allen tries to talk Hunt, but it's of no used because all they do is end up trading insults.

One evening, some employees go to a nightclub, where there's a hypnotist act as part of the floor show, to celebrate a co-worker's birthday (and Allen's recovery of a stolen Picasso).  Allen and Hunt are selected as volunteers for the hypnotist (with hilarious results), but the hypnotist (David Ogden Stiers) has more sinister motives.  Later that night, Allen receives a telephone call at his apartment from the hypnotist who puts him back under hypnosis and orders him to use his insurance company knowledge to break into a customers mansion and steal their jewelry.  The next day, Briggs is called in to investigate the crime he doesn't even know he committed!

I love THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION and have watched it dozens of times over the years.  Although I usually turn it off about 3/4 of the way through, because the ending isn't that great...but the first half of the movie is hilarious!  The script is almost nothing but one-liners and witty remarks that are fired off so quickly that you'll have to watch the film multiple times to catch them all.

Beautiful set design, awesome looking 1940's clothing (some of the women's dresses were amazing!), strong acting by an impressive cast, quick pace, fantastic music that really sets the mood.  Highly recommended.

Would make a great double-feature with SMALL TIME CROOKS.