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Writer-director Woody Allen mounts a lively farce (1994) set in Manhattan in 1928—in a milieu that interfaces prohibition gangsters with Broadway theater—and has a number of amusing things to say about the interactions between art and commerce, both seen here in their crasser forms. Like Husbands and Wives and Manhattan Murder Mystery, though to somewhat less effect, this shows a certain improvement in Allen's work; the material is certainly lively, though the plot becomes a bit mechanical toward the end. The performances, however, are very enjoyable, with first honors going to Chazz Palminteri and Dianne Wiest. Most of the others—John Cusack as the playwright-director hero, Jennifer Tilly as a gangster's moll forced into Cusack's production as an actress, Rob Reiner, Jack Warner, Mary-Louise Parker, and Harvey Fierstein—aren't too far behind. 99 min.

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