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C.W. Briggs (Woody Allen) is the top insurance investigator in 1940s New York, but the new office efficiency expert Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt) isnít so sure. In fact CW and Betty Ann canít stand the sight of each other. One night at a work function, stage hypnotist Voltan (David Ogden Stiers) hypnotises both of them, making them believe that theyíre married to each other. But what they donít know is that Voltan has also programmed them to assist him in daring burglaries. Now back in the office, CW is perplexed when trying to solve two burglaries, in which expensive jewellery has been stolen from homes that he himself has secured.

Review by Louise Keller:
Filled with sparkle and wit, Woody Allenís The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is a scrumptious crime thriller with plenty of attitude. The script reads like one of Allenís fantasies Ė gorgeous blondes to kiss, crimes to solve Ė with Allen centre stage all the while. Add a mellow, jazzy soundtrack and a wonderful production design that takes us to the era, and we are ready to embark on a caper peppered with humour and off the wall ideas. Allen may be looking a little older, but thereís nothing tired about his brand of humour. There are plenty of one-liners to keep us on our toes, while the way the story plays out is delightful. When CW and Betty Ann are hypnotised at the restaurant, there is little doubt where the action is going to take us. Itís beautifully set up, and everyone (except for the central characters) is in on the gag. Charlize Theron does a splendid turn, looking drop dead gorgeous in the mould of the seductive Veronica Lake. (Theron recalls that when Allen first approached her for the role, he said if he were making the film in the 40s, he would cast Lauren Bacall. Would she be interested?) Her height is accentuated besides the diminutive Allen, and their scenes together are pure magic. Helen Hunt is wonderful as the super-smart efficiency expert who is not up for any nonsense, and the development of the relationship between CW and Betty Ann is lip-smacking good. Needless to say, this is a story with a happy ending, an irresistible indulgence guaranteed to please Allen fans.

Presented in widescreen, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion certainly looks great on DVD with its muted colours and rich production design. The scene index is simply laid out, but designed with distinctive film sprockets from which we can jump to the scene of our choice. After watching the film in its entirety, I like to click to my favourite scenes Ė scenes like the one when CW returns to his apartment to find the voluptuous Laura waiting for him, wearing a trench coat and little else. The expression on Allenís face as Theron removes the coat is priceless. Thereís not much by way of special features on this disc, except for some basic cast and production information, giving a little background on the making of the film. I was interested to read that although Allen had never been hypnotised, it was an idea that he had been playing with for a while that had plenty of comic potential. He asks ďIs it really true that no power of suggestion can make us do anything we really donít want to doÖ especially when it comes to love?Ē

Published September 19, 2002

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CAST: Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron

DIRECTOR: Woody Allen

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical Trailer, Production Notes, Cast and Crew

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 18, 2002

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