Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
1920s Broadway. Playwright David Shayne considers himself an artist, and surrounds himself with like minded people, most struggling financially as they create art for themselves, not the masses. David, however, believes the failure of his first two plays was because he gave up creative control to other people who didn't understand the material. As such, he wants to direct his just completed third play, "God of Our Fathers", insider scuttlebutt being that it may very well make David the toast of Broadway. With David having no directing history, David's regular producer, Julian Marx, can't find any investors,... until a single investor who will finance the entire production comes onto the scene. He is Nick Valenti, a big time mobster, with the catch being that his dimwitted girlfriend, non-actress Olive Neal, get the lead role. A hesitant David and Julian, who are able to talk Nick into them giving Olive one of the two female supporting roles instead, go along with the scheme hoping ...Written by
Woody Allen sends up the world of Broadway and the gangsters who love it in this Runyonesque comedy, one of his very best.
John Cusack is the Allen surrogate, a nebbish playwright who's struggling to remain true to his artistic vision amongst countless obstacles. Those obstacles include: a gangster's girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly) who Cusack is forced to cast in a lead role; her bodyguard (Chazz Palmienteri), who reveals quite a few dramatic instincts; a high-maintenance diva (Dianne Wiest, uproarious); a leading man who eats too much (Jim Broadbent); and a dithery actress very much in love with her dog (Tracy Ullman).
Because Allen sets his movie in a world he knows well (NY theatre), this feels like one of his strongest and most realized screenplays. The whole thing is a riot. Between Wiest, Tilly and Ullman, I still can't decide who's funniest.
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