The musical comedy is undoubtedly a dead breed of film. This movie is the final nail in its coffin. The kitschy humor so well portrayed in the Broadway musical comes across as over-the-top and bland, something that I didn't think was possible for anything even remotely involving Mel Brooks.
The pretense even seems like it can't miss in its humor. A mousy accountant (Matthew Broderick) and a failed Broadway producer (Nathan Lane) discover that by producing a flop, they can make more money than with a smash. The two proceed to find the most offensive musical possible, the wildest director and put on the tackiest production they can manage. The show is a hit and they find themselves in a whole lot of trouble. On Broadway, it was hysterical; on screen the show borders on pathetic.
The best things I can find about this movie are Lane's facial expressions and after two hours, even those get painfully predictable. Broderick has no star quality whatsoever. The ideal Leo Bloom, a wallflower of an accountant, is really bold underneath it all. Well, Broderick spends a lot of time digging for that bold guy, and, by the looks of things, he left a long time ago.
I had the pleasure of seeing the Broadway production of "The Producers", starring Brad Oscar and Hunter Foster, this summer. It was fantastic. They belted out the songs and danced like they meant it. Granted, Broderick and Lane originated the roles, but in the movie, they come across as imitators and the production as a whole gives the impression of a cheap knock-off. In all fairness, the translation from stage to screen is not always smooth. However, a line must be drawn somewhere and this is as far as I go. I've seen "Phantom of the Opera" (very, very modern) and "Rent" (way too glossy), but neither of those were nearly as cheaply done as this. It's time we hearken back to the days of the old movie musical. Men wore top hats and the women wore gowns. They sang gently and they danced like they instinctively knew how. There was glamour and bright lights. And it was all done without the slightest bit of self-consciousness or irony.
Review: 2 stars (Out of 4)
Rachel Dobiesz is a sophomore at Hamburg High School