Woody Allen comedy set in the 1920s. John Cusack plays David Shayne, a struggling playwright who sells out to the mob to produce his new play on Broadway. The gangster financing the spiel, Nick Valenti (Joe Viterelli), insists that his flapper chorus girl, Olive (Jennifer Tilly), is given a part and is protected by her bodyguard, Cheech (Chazz Palminteri). Dianne Wiest is hilarious as the prima donna star actress Helen Sinclair, for whom David soon develops an infatuation as she has him entirely under the thumb. He begins to compromise his artistic integrity, even taking writing advice from Cheech, effectively rewriting the whole play. Jim Broadbent plays Warner Purcell, a talented but over-the-hill British actor with a compulsive eating habit whenever he gets nervous. There's barely a scene in which he's not eating.
Brillig fun, this film, made with real affection for the jazz age of gin joints and chorus lines, mobsters and thesps. The best line is of course delivered by Dianne Wiest's character talking to John Cusack on a train, flattering his ego after an off-Broadway opening in Boston: "You stand on the brink of greatness. The world will open to you like an oyster. No...not like an oyster. The world will open to you like a magnificent vagina."
Nugget: up there with the best of Allen's light-hearted comedies. Certainly one of the best films in which he doesn't act himself.