A very up-beat satire and one of director's most cunning interpretations of New York art scene as a - quite literally this time - crooked mob house. There is some honest poetry in the scene where a regular mafia muscle kills of his boss' favorite girl before she kills ... his theatre's play critical reception. While Cusack plays a peculiar Allen-esque main character, highly opportunistic and consciously talentless.
I ignored this film back in the mid 90s and since. I didn't expect much of it, but I have been pleasantly surprised. Turns out to be one of the better Woody Allen films of the decade. The film has wit and the dialogue dances. Chazz Palmintieri and Dianne Wiest steal the show with their eccentric portrayals, but John Cusack, as usual, is excellent in his starring role as the playwright. Another gem dug up by MUBI.
One of the best Woody Allen films from this period. Jennifer Tilly, Dianne Weist, Chazz Palmienteri, and Jim Broadbent are all superb playing Allen's version of Damon Runyon. The only off-note (recycled Allen upper-east-side angst) is the sub-plot of John Cusack's character's wife and her affair with the blowhard played by Rob Reiner; the acting styles clash too much with the theater people. But really, wonderful.
A flat out hilarious meditation on the compromising of artistry in pure Allen style: witty dialogue, a dreamy ensemble cast (oh Dianne Wiest, how much I adore you in this film) and key elements in the script that take the plot to different levels of meaning. It's exquisite the way Allen merges theatrical elements into this film.