In true Woody Allen style, here is a turn of events. Starring Woody Allen, Kathy Bates, John Cusack, Mia Farrow, Jodie Foster, Fred Gwynne, Madonna, John Malkovich, Kate Neligan, Donald Pleasence, Lily Tomlin, David Ogden Stiers - ya got clowns, ya got sword swallowers, ya got acrobats, ya got serial killers and ya got prostitutes! What else could you ask for?
A brief outline: Allen is a clerk praying for a promotion. Approached for some reason by vigilantes for his help to track a serial killer, which leaves him wondering why. Nearby, there is a circus. Farrow (sword swallower) cuts out (pardon the pun) on her boyfriend, Malkovich (clown) after finding him in bed with Madonna (acrobat). This alone is enough to base a story on, but there is more!
Heading to the big town, Farrow is on the streets, trying to make a living'. Taken into the local brothel by Tomlin (prostitute - can you believe it?), she soon becomes fast friends with fellow ladies of the evening Bates (heaven help us) and Foster (this is completely acceptable). Somewhere along the way we pick up Cusack, looking for a little sex from Farrow - can you believe that when Foster is available??????
Allen, suddenly taking a part in the serial killer hunt, visits the M.E., Pleasence (as usual). Next thing we know, the M.E. is found dead and guess what? Fingerprints found on a glass left nearby match Allen's (dummy), who in turn steals the glass from the police station (how, may I ask?) While at the police station he meets up with Farrow, arrested for prostitution, who feels bad about taking money for sex and gives it away to a woman on the street .... geez .... Allen is really stretching the story here!
Now we have the vigilantes chasing Allen, the clown chasing the prostitute (Farrow) to get her back. The woman on the street is now found dead, Allen is hiding in the circus, Farrow is being stalked by the real killer, a magician appears (sorry - pun again) and uses magic to catch the killer.
All in all, another really weird movie by Allen. One often wonders where his mind is - if you even care. Of course I watched the movie for Foster, Cusack and Bates. Decent performances by all involved for the most part with the exception of Madonna who appears bored. A lot of scenes appear jerky and over produced while others have poor lighting and camera action. An unlikely cast of characters to be thrown together in a movie, but then again, that is Allen's style!