BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is Woody Allen's latest movie. It is one of
his pure comedies with no attempt at any seriousness. It is not as
slapstick or silly as say BANANAS or TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN. It is
more in the vein of THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO or BROADWAY DANNY ROSE.
John Cusack plays David Shayne, a young playwright in New York in
the 20s. Shayne thinks he is Chekov and claims he will change none of
his work to pander to the audience. This causes a problem since he is
going broke and the public hates his plays. With the public turning up
their noses, funding dries up.
This lack of money difficulty is solved by his agent (Jack
Warden). The agent simply finds a gangster who, playing the devil
character, allows Shayne to sell his intellectual soul away. All he
need do is let the gangster's girlfriend get a major role in the play.
She (Jennifer Tilly) is so awful that Ed Wood might have given up on
her as hopeless. On the other hand, she has a bodyguard, Cheech (Chazz
Palminteri). who watches over her and manages to steal every scene he
is in. My thumb ended in the up position mainly on the strength of
The lead actress of the play (Dianne Wiest) is a has been who
thinks she is still the biggest star around. Many other good minor
characters, especially that of the bohemian artist (Rob Reiner).
The sound effects editing and, to a lessor extent, the dialog made
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY feel more like a play than a movie. This can be
heard most of all in the indoor scenes. The speech dominates
everything, is frequently spoken extra loud without shouting, and there
is a minimum of ambient noise in the background.
The acting is good, but other than Palminteri, nothing special.
The dialog is bright and funny but not Allen's best. The street scenes
of New York are extremely well done. My favorite of these is the scene
of the Bohemians playing chess, eating, and drinking at an outdoor cafe
in Greenwich Village.
Copyright © 1994 Steve Rhodes