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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)



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In Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, John Cusack plays "the Woody Allen character." This time he's a writer, which immediately makes us wonder if this is an even more autobiographical lead than usual. It seems the only way his play is going to get produced is if a gangster's talentless girlfriend is cast in the leading role.

The film exploits the conflict of art vs. commerce to the fullest. You can probably guess where some of it will go: the girlfriend will be not just bad but hilariously bad, and Cusack's character will go into hysterical conniption fits over how bad she is and, subsequently, when things come to a head and the gangsters come after him.

Allen had done a madcap comedy with gangsters and showbiz ten years earlier, with Broadway Danny Rose. This film feels very much in the same spirit, although it has its own nuances. As in the earlier film, the comedy is tied together by a genuine love of the performing arts and great empathy with the kind of artists that just want to be left alone to practice their craft.