Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

"It's a tragedy." "I'll say." - Chazz Palminteri to Jennifer Tilly

Let's face it, Woody Allen never changes and his yearly movies never
disappoint.  That much we know.  His films always open with the same
nondescript titles, they always star an great ensemble cast, and, lately
at least, they always comment on the role of the artist.

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is set in the 1920's and stars John Cusack as a
young Village playwright with a mob boss as a backer.  The catch:  the
boss's mistress (Jennifer Tilly) has to have a part.  The girl can't
act, but she's no worse than the material-- dialogue that a needs doctor
and needs one bad.  Help arrives in the form of the bodyguard (Chaz
Palminteri), who has a better ear than the author and soon starts
suggesting rewrites to the playwright.

Light, loose, and a little bit overlong, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY has
several side-splitting sequences.  The best, by far, is the first
meeting between the playwright, the mobster, and mistress.  Who else but
Jennifer Tilly can pronounce "hors d'oeuvres" as "horse dervs" and sound
so natural?  Then there's Dianne Wiest, enormous fun as an aging theater
queen who bears no small resemblance to Norma Desmond.  Her great line:
"Don't speak."  (Rated "R"/99 min.)

OSCAR WATCH:  Wiest and, maybe, Tilly and Palminteri.

BOTTOM LINE:  Weighted with just a handful of heavy themes, BULLETS OVER
BROADWAY is Woody Allen's lightest film in years.

Grade: B+

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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