Danny Rose (Woody Allen) is a character. He's is a talent agent that specializes in odd and/or washed up acts that nobody else wants. He has a skating penguin that dresses up like a rabbi, piano playing birds, a woman who plays musical cups, balloon folders and so on. Whenever one of his acts starts to get a little bit famous they leave him. Only the losers stay with him. Danny is kind of a tragic figure, but despite this he works his ass off and dedicates himself completely to his clients. One such client is has-been lounge singer Lou Canova (played by real life singer Nick Apollo Forte). Recently, things have been looking up for Canova and Rose is spending all of his energy promoting him. One lucky day Rose lands a potentially huge gig trying out for Milton Berle, but right before the big day Canova tells Rose that he's cheating on his wife. Even worse, he wants Rose to bring his mistress to the show and act like she's his date. Rose reluctantly agrees, but when he arrives to pick her up she's in the middle of a screaming match with Canova on the phone. She refuses to go to the show and Rose has to somehow get her there come Hell or high water.
Quick pace, entertaining story, hilarious lines and body gestures by Allen, beautiful B&W photography by Gordon Willis (I especially loved the shot starting at 8:15 and the one starting at 1:07:22), NYC street scenes, great singing by Forte, strong performance by Mia Farrow. Excellent 80's output by Allen. Highly recommended.
Despite the flashback taking place in 1969, there's a theater marquee advertising HALLOWEEN III. Could that be a nod to Stacey Nelkin?