Picks and Pans Review: Broadway Danny Rose

updated 02/06/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/06/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

What does Woody Allen do when he doesn't have a classic like Annie Hall or Zelig in mind? In the past, he has made wrongheaded detours into serious drama (Interiors) and satire (Stardust Memories). But he settles for a pleasant minor key in Broadway Danny Rose. The movie, about a third-rate New York talent agent, is no more than a doodle, but it is always amiable and rises to moments of inspired lunacy. There's none of the cynical, smart-ass Woody this time. "My hand to God," Danny Rose promises his clients. And he means it, even when he's hustling a one-armed juggler, a bird act or a fat '50s crooner, nicely played by newcomer Nick Apollo Forte. Danny's life changes when he falls for Forte's gum-chewing girlfriend, the kind of doxy who explains the demise of her first husband with a cryptic "Some guys shot him in the eyes." Mia Farrow plays this against-the-grain role with astonishing verve. Director Allen must hide her aristocratic eyes behind dark glasses to pull off the charade. No matter. She and Allen, framed by Gordon Willis' black-and-white photography, make a playful, sometimes touching couple. If Broadway Danny Rose is no Woody Allen banquet, it's no famine either. Like a good glass of seltzer, it goes down easy and lifts the spirits. (PG)

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