Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom (Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick) set up a scheme to create the worst musical ever, get lots of funding, have it bomb, and keep the leftover financing for themselves.
What I Thought
Originally a movie, then made into the smash Broadway musical, it's back in movie form. It's 99.9% based on the musical (there's one extra song) and is an almost exact filming of the stage version but "better". What I mean by better is that all the sets are flushed out (obviously we're not on a Broadway stage here) into "real life".
So what do I think, what do I think... I really liked it. It's funny, Broderick and Lane are awesome, and the smaller roles by Will Ferrell and Uma Thurman (who I believe are the only non-Broadway folks here) are fantastic as well.
I feel I need to keep putting disclaimers in my movie reviews these days, but here's another one: I saw the musical too. So that may be why I liked it so much, especially since the movie was so faithful to it. I can see several types of people maybe not liking the movie:
1) If you're not into movie musicals,
2) If you didn't see the live musical,
3) If you don't appreciate Mel Brooks' humor.
The third one is an important point. We were sitting next to this older couple who maybe 45 minutes into the movie got up in a huff and left. I can't decide if it was all the swastikas and Hitler references or the smash musical number "Keep it gay", but they were muttering about "losing your audience" as they huffed out. I dunno.
Did I mention that the musical they decide on is called "Springtime for Hitler?" And at one point they have about a dozen dancers dancing in the form of a swastika? Yeah, that's Mel Brooks. So you may begin to appreciate item #3. Don't take your easily-offended grandparents, they just won't get it.
But we got it, and had a fun time. There's plenty of silliness and slapstic, so don't go in treating this movie as a regular comedy either. You have to just turn off your brain and laugh.
At this point, I have to mention the unfortunate incident of the previous large musical that came to theaters, the Phantom of the Opera. In THAT review, I consigned it to the deepest pits of hell and beyond. And indeed, that's where it belongs. But I had to bring it up in case you are wondering why I'm giving the Producers a mostly positive review while Phantom had a, umm, less than stellar one. They're both musicals, right? Yes. I saw both live? Yes. I liked both at the time I saw them? Um, *sigh* yes, though I was embarrassingly too young to have a mature and informed opinion of Phantom.
There is this little section of Mystic in Connecticut that's called the "Olde Mystic Village". It is a total tourist trap with overpriced schlocky items, nick knacks, and doo-dads. But it's cute, and well done, and it has ducks, and I love it. That's the Producers. Phantom is a bad tourist trap with lots of crowds, not much to see, VERY overpriced food, and not even much to do. Phantom is Times Square. AND it has no ducks. You following me?
Anyway, I at least enjoyed the Producers, it was funny, it was slapstick, and I'll leave it as an exercise for you to find the ducks.
All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.