What You Need To Know:
(LL, V, S, A, M) 16 obscenities, 7 profanities; gangster shootings, though not prolonged or bloody; threats of violence, sexual immorality discussed & implied, though not shown; and, drinking & smoking.
Woody Allen’s new film, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, is a witty comedy about a young Roaring Twenties playwright, David Shayne (John Cusack), whose new “masterpiece” is to be underwritten by mobster Nick Valenti, provided the crook’s dim-witted girl, Olive, gets a major role. To make matters worse, Nick assigns his toughest bodyguard, Cheech, to play watchdog for his Olive at every rehearsal. David, for all of his artistic “vision,” has written dialogue so stale that even dim Olive can spot its defects. Even more aware of the need for a serious overhaul of the play is the surly Cheech, whose suggestions prove to be more useful than any ideas from the cast. David eventually realizes that this hood has a raw gift for dramatic structure, and he slowly begins to tap into it.
Complications are many, but the bottom line of this film is surprisingly moral. This is, above all, a cautionary tale about the folly of pride and moral relativism. Although sexual immorality is discussed, it is not portrayed as desirable. Shot in a glowing warmth which intensifies color like an oil painting, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is expertly acted by a tight ensemble cast. For grown-ups who are willing to endure some needless (but fortunately limited) foul language, there are in this film an abundance of clever lines and some provocative observations about self-defined rules of right and wrong.