Danny Rose is a manager of artists, and although he's not very successful, he nevertheless goes out of his way to help his acts. So when Lou Canova, a singer who has a chance of making a come-back, asks Danny to help him with a problem, Danny helps him. This problem is Lou's mistress Tina. Lou wants Tina to be at his concerts, otherwise he can't perform, but he's married, so Danny has to take her along as if she was his girlfriend. Danny however gets more than he has bargained for when two mobsters come looking for the guy who has hurt their brother by stealing the heart of Tina, the girl he loves. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
If there's one thing that almost all of Woody Allen's comedies have in common, it's charm. Few have more of it than Broadway Danny Rose. Not Allen's best, not his funniest, but this warm and sentimental film grabs the viewer immediately and never lets up.
This is accomplished, initially, by the extremely naturalistic dialogue between the comics whose reminiscences form the bulk of the film. Notice how they all talk at once, they cut each other off, and they trample all over each other's lines. We really feel like we're listening in on a diner conversation, rather than watching a theatrical performance of a diner conversation. This gives the film an initial boost of accessibility.
This "charm factor" is cemented once we meet Danny Rose. Now, many people criticize Allen as an actor, claiming that he only ever plays one character... himself. This is absolute rubbish, and "Broadway Danny Rose" proves it. I have never seen Allen play a character so kind, warm, and accepting as Danny Rose. It was quite a pleasant surprise. Danny has to be that good, though, in order for us to accept that Tina is haunted by her betrayal of him.
That denouement, by the way, was really touching. The Thanksgiving scene took a good, funny, enjoyable movie and made it something a little more special. Compare this to the gross-out comedies of today... how many modern comedies can be as funny as "Broadway Danny Rose," and yet still create characters so real and so sympathetic that moments like the Thanksgiving scene can work?
I try not to harp on about how funny Allen's comedies are, because you either like his humor or you don't. If you like it, you don't need me to tell you it's funny, and if you don't, you won't believe me anyway. So why bother? I don't know, but I will say that this film had a good six or eight laugh out loud moments, at least, and it kept me smiling throughout.
Also, after a good debut in "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" and a reduced, subdued role in "Zelig", this is the film where Mia Farrow really comes into her own as Allen's leading lady. For the first time, I don't miss Diana Keaton.
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