(1976)3.5Craig ButlerBugsy Malone is nothing if not unusual. Very few other films have featured a cast comprised entirely of children, and possibly no other film has called upon those children to play adult roles, let alone adult gangster roles. There's a curiosity value to this concept, but there doesn't seem to be any real reason for its existence -- what's the purpose behind the children as gangsters metaphor? Director/screenwriter Alan Parker has not developed the idea so that there's a real payoff, and as a result the joke wears out long before the film is over. Parker also hasn't developed the "universe" in which these children exist beyond the basics (whipped cream instead of bullets, pedal-driven cars, etc.). Were the rest of the film more involving, this wouldn't matter, but since it isn't, one keeps waiting for more "kid-oriented" devices (in much the same manner that one waits for amusing anachronisms when watching The Flintstones). Paul Williams' score is undistinguished (and often is distinctly not of the period), and though the actors try hard, most lack the experience to pull off what is required of them. Jodie Foster is the major exception, marvelous but wasted in a supporting role. She's the only one who really seems to be an adult caught in a child's body rather than a child overwhelmed by adult clothes. Martin Lev is almost as good, filling his role with more quiet power than one would expect of someone his age. The physical production is attractive, and Parker has shot some of it with great care -- particularly the "Ordinary Fool" number and the expertly-edited finale. There's enough here to make Bugsy Malone palatable, but it still feels like an over-extended skit.