Friday, July 8, 2011

Bullets Over Broadway

In Prohibition era New York City, a struggling writer (John Cusack) is unwilling to compromise his new play until his agent (Jack Warden) gains the backing of a local mobster. With the stipulation that the thug's talentless floozy girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly) be cast in a major role, the writer and now director must also contend with his star (Dianne Wiest),  a diva in the Norma Desmond mold he is starting to fall for, a suspicious girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker) who herself is falling for a blowhard hack writer (Rob Reiner), a lead actor (Jim Broadbent) with an eating disorder and appetite for the mobster's girl, a supporting actress (Tracey Ullman) with an annoying dog, and the gangster's bodyguard (Chazz Palmintari) who is keeping an eye on the girl but also has an uncanny knack for screenwriting. Bullets Over Broadway is an extremely entertaining and occasionally riotous film from director Woody Allen and cowriter Douglas McGrath. Allen brings to vivid life the period of the 1920s which he recently demonstrated such a warm fondness for in Midnight in Paris. The scripting is brilliantly conceived and the jokes are often hilariously on the mark. John Cusack, an actor I do not hold in high regard, fits nicely into the role of the uncompromising producer who finds himself making concession after concession, even in admitting the lack of his own talent. Dianne Wiest is a ball of energy is an Academy Award winning performance in her portrayal of an over the top Broadway star who still holds the powers of manipulation. Jennifer Tilly and Chazz Palminteri are wonderful as well in roles that garnered Oscar nods. Palminteri is a particular scream when he is barking out script changes and insisting on nothing less than greatness for his work. Bullets Over Broadway is a wonderfully inspired film and an entertaining one that functions incredibly on several different levels.