The comedy film, which starred John Cusack and Dianne Wiest, has been adapted for the Broadway stage with Scrubs star Braff in the lead role, but the show failed to impress reviewers when it opened at the St. James Theatre on Thursday night (10Apr14).
The New York Daily News' Joe Dziemianowicz called the production a "bit of a miss", adding, "Allen's showbiz and gangland eccentrics stiffen into cardboard when they're amplified from two to three dimensions... It doesn't help that key actors shoot blanks... Beyond mediocre acting is the poor choice at the center of this jukebox musical."
Charles MCNulty of the Los Angeles Times criticises the "coarseness of some of the humour" as well as the actors' performances, while Variety's Marilyn Stasio adds, "Everyone hoped Bullets Over Broadway would be the show to get those flickering Broadway lights blazing again... Surprisingly, though... (it) is feeble on laughs, and certain key performers don't seem comfortable... So, let's call it close - but no cigar."
Ben Brantley of The New York Times also criticised the show, adding, "While the movie was a helium-light charmer, this all-talking, all-singing, all-dancing reincarnation is also all but charm-free... The experience of watching the film was like being tickled, gently but steadily, into a state of mounting hysteria... The musical version... feels more like being head-butted by linebackers. Make that linebackers in blinding sequins."
The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney concludes by urging theatre fans to rent a copy of the movie instead: "Spend five bucks to rent the delightful movie or north of a hundred to watch its buoyancy get trampled in a strained musical? Not a tough choice."