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Bullets Over Broadway

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Bullets Over Broadway

Starring: John Cusack, Chazz Palminteri
Director: Woody Allen
Rated: R
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: October 1994
Genre: Comedy

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

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 Palminteri's performance.

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

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