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Scarlett Johansson on SNL: Boffo or Bust? (videos)

Scarlett Johansson added Hollywood glam to NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” last night (Nov. 13) but the star, who’s been on a roll lately with “Iron Man2,” seemed curiously flat. What gives?

Johansson, who gamely went through the motions during her skits, nonetheless she seemed detached and at times, she looked tired. Critics claim she lacked comedic timing.

She’s had a hectic schedule lately, and may be suffering from overwork. But Johansson also was a victim of bad writing. The skits, frankly, just were not that funny.

The show has suffered for years from writing that is too fat and self-indulgent. Skits go on far too long, lack pacing and usually lack a clear comedic point of view.
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Most of Johansson’s skits seemed to be dedicated to lampooning obscure cable television shows. What’s with that?

Johannson opened with a parody of the “Millionaire Matchmaker.” It drew a tepid response from the audience. Hardly anyone laughed.

That could be because virtually nobody watches the Bravo cable network show and were unfamiliar with Johansson’s character, a parody of host Patti Stranger. If you don’t know Stranger, you’re not going to get it.

“Stars of Tomorrow,” a supposed TLC show about child performers, featured Johansson and Vanessa Bayer playing up-and-coming child actors.

The laugh was supposed to come from the kids performing scenes way outside their range, like Marlon Brando’s classic scene from “On the Waterfront” where he confronts his brother for selling out his boxing career.

The problem is “On the Waterfront” was filmed a mere 56 years ago. Could SNL’s largely twenty-something audience really be expected to be in tune with the movie enough to get the joke?

The “Maternity Television’ skit at least played off a show that the audience might be familiar with, MTV’s “16 and Pregnant.”

Johansson was at her best in the send-up of Denzel Washington’s movie “Unstoppable.”

But she looked the most pained in the “St. Katherine’s Middle School” skit.

Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker called it “one of those stare-at-the-ceiling embarrassing sketches.”

The skit was a play on the power of positive thinking. Why it was set in a catholic middle school is mystifying.

Maybe it played off the religious belief in the power of faith, who knows?

Basically a group of kids stand around a wheel-chair bound student, Marvin, played by Kenan Thompson.

They convince him he can stand, using the power of positive thinking, even though he has a broken leg in a huge cast.

Every time Marvin stands up, of course, he falls on his face and screams at the kids to leave him alone. The one-joke premise was repeated over and over to the point of tediousness.

This was Johansson’s third appearance on the show. She deserved better. Check out the videos below. Click to watch.

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