I don’t know if there’s any run quite as impressive and prolific as Woody Allen’s output of one film per year since the 1960’s. While this leads to obvious ups and downs in quality, Allen clearly knows what he’s doing. This holds true particularly with his comedies. Even a lesser one is fine in the overall landscape of cinema. Broadway Danny Rose is relatively simplistic and rarely laugh-out-loud funny - but the formula that is Allen bumbling through social situations is hard to outright dislike, and here Allen’s charm comes through.
To simplify things, the story is told through a frame. Several men are sharing stories of Danny Rose. In a very Allen move, several quick stories are told establishing Rose’s character. The actual story is not complicated. It moves from one beat to the next, simply progressing rather than building greatly upon itself. It feels quite natural, which is certainly at Allen’s touch, as it becomes a more and more wild as Rose angers members of the mafia.
The humor here is largely in Rose’s social interactions. He continually shares anecdotes, prefacing his statements with, “I don’t mean to be didactic or facetious.” The anecdotes are always from his dead relatives. He speaks quickly and rather roundabout, and somehow he’s almost smooth. The anecdote gag is repeated several times, but it never fails to be entertaining. Allen’s delivery is, as usual, fantastic.
The sort of simplistic plot present in Broadway Danny Rose seems to follow from Allen’s accelerated development schedule. It’s hard to fault a film created so quickly, but of course, it’s wrong to judge based on this criteria. Even Allen has created more complicated works. It’s a fairly straightforward comedy, but that’s fine. Allen still builds Danny Rose’s world. We see his roster of clients, his dedication to Lou. He cares about these people and does his best for them.
The end, like many Allen films, isn’t particularly conclusive. The events of the story work themselves out, but mostly, it stops because there’s no more to be seen here. In Broadway Danny Rose, things don’t necessarily work out better for Rose. In fact, he might be worse off - it’s someone else who has grown through the story’s events. Broadway Danny Rose isn’t one of Allen’s finest comedies, but it’s entirely enjoyable. It’s Allen’s standard character, and that’s hard not to like.