Film review

Stings Of Desire

DIRECTED BY Woody Allen

STARRING Woody Allen, Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, Dan Aykroyd

OPENS December 6, Cert 12, 100 mins

One suspects that Woody Allen only makes films nowadays so that he gets to make out on screen with women twice his size and half his age. Mind you, given his body of work, he's earned the right to make entertaining if slight cinematic confections like this.

Set in a deftly recreated 1940, The Curse...stars Allen as CW Briggs, a New York insurance investigator whose working methods are threatened by the arrival of Helen Hunt's executive Betty Ann Fitzgerald. Matters are complicated when he's hypnotised by a charismatic, turbanned jewel thief (David Ogden Stiers) in a nightclub and subsequently forced to carry out heists under his thrall.

Allen pays homage here to Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder and fast-talking and/or sultry dames like Veronica Lake, of whom Charlize Theron does a straight impersonation, coming on to Allen like a femme fatale-o-gram. Hunt at times seems uncomfortable at the '40s-style corset her character is forced into, but gives Allen a decent run for his money, while Aykroyd adds solid support as an adulterous coward à la Fred MacMurray in The Apartment.

Allen himself as CW Briggs bears most of the comedic brunt, with some nice lines, including a gag about the difference between the brain and the heart which could have come from one of his '60s routines. But he's looking way too old to play this sort of romantic lead, however self-deprecating. The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion is unlikely to match the success of Small Time Crooks, but it marks time pleasantly enough.

Rating: 3 / 10


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