This is the story of the up-and-down adventures of Broadway Danny Rose (Woody Allen) as recalled by a group of hard-boiled comedians gathered at New York's notorious Carnegie Delicatessen. Danny is a mediocre New York theatrical agent whose clients include a blind xylophonist, a stuttering ventriloquist, and a parrot who croons "I've Got To Be Me." The one act that may prove successful that of an Italian lounge singer Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte). His style has become poplar again thanks to a wave of nostalgia.
When his client is given a chance to sing at the Waldorf Astoria, Danny goes to New Jersey to fetch Lou's lover Tina (Mia Farrow). She also happens to be the paramour of a Mafia man. Spotted by the fellow's angry relatives who misunderstand their relationship, Danny and Tina find themselves dodging bullets.
In the film's crucial scene, Tina reveals her philosophy of life: "It's over quick, so have a good time. You see what you want, go for it. Don't pay attention to anyone else. And do it to the other guy first 'cause if you don't he'll do it to you." She obviously acts on her words. She sets Lou up with a new, more experienced promoter, and they leave Danny out in the cold. It takes her a while to realize that Danny's uncle was right: the things which count most in life are "acceptance, forgiveness, love."
Woody Allen's slender film is at once a valentine to Mia Farrow (hardly recognizable in wig and dark sunglasses) and a paean to the lovable losers in show biz who often give all they've got and still come up short. Tina's turnabout from hustler to Danny's friend seems a bit contrived, but it provides a sweet ending to another moralistic drama by America's most prolific filmmaker.