By EW Staff
May 17, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

While Martin Scorsese was busy reconstructing 1840s New York at great expense on soundstages in Italy for ”Gangs of New York,” Allen thriftily shot this circa 1940 comedy on slightly redecorated locations all over his native city. As with the previous 30 odd movies he’s directed, he didn’t let the budget for ”Jade Scorpion” creep above about $25 million; in return he got ”enormous freedom” in subject matter and casting, though he says ”I would love to make a larger budget picture.”

Hunt plays an efficiency expert hired to modernize the office where a crack investigator (Allen) has ruled the roost for years. ”So,” Allen says, ”there’s immediate conflict between the two of us.” Aykroyd plays the gruff boss who wants to avoid paying when the titular valuable goes missing. Hunt, the actor says, ”wears the period stuff, the hose and the heels and the skirts and the bright lipstick. She’s got an incredible figure, so she’d look good in a Massachusetts state trooper uniform.” But that’s another movie.