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Woody Allen might have done well to end his expatriate adventure in London with last year's intriguing morality tale Match Point. This alleged return to comedy — starring Point's nubile Scarlett Johansson as a naive American journalism student, Allen himself as the phobia-rattled magician who poses as her father, and Hugh Jackman as a dashing English nobleman who might be a serial killer — is so flat, dull, and off-form that its seems to have been conceived in a fog. When Allen's famously neurotic one-liners begin to bomb, there's real trouble, and Woody's performance here comes off as stammering self-parody: He's a pent-up bundle of tics and quirks so irritating that, halfway through, you might feel like ending the misery — his and yours. It also features Deadwood's Ian McShane as a recently deceased London newspaper legend who, from beyond the grave, puts the young heroine onto the story of a lifetime. — Bill Gallo

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