Friday, January 06, 2006

The Producers

Title: The Producers (2005)
Dir: Susan Stroman
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

I must confess that I have not seen the original. I also have not seen the Broadway show. I don't know if this objectiveness is good or bad, but here is my unbiased review....

Loved it! I don't give a rat's ass if Stroman did nothing spectacular with the camera, this movie was fun. It may not be a groundbreaking film but it is a blast to watch, especially for poor people like me who couldn't afford to go to NYC and see the actual show.

I have seen many movie-musicals but I have never seen one that felt so much like a live stage-show as this. There is a certain up-beat feeling I get when I see a really fun musical on stage, and I've never gotten that feeling during a movie-musical...until now. It is a nice substitute for the real thing.

The film starts out a bit over-the-top, especially Matthew Broderick (who plays Leo Bloom). Once he toned down, I was sucked into the movie, especially during Bloom's first solo musical number. From there on, it just got better and better. I've never been a big fan of Broderick or Nathan Lane (except in The Lion King, of course!), but they quickly grew on me. The music is fun, the dialogue is witty, and the characters are completely eccentric. Mel Brooks' humor shined through, and that is never a bad thing.

Personally, I loved Stroman's directing. Obviously she is better at stage-direction, but I thought it was translated to film pretty well. The sets and choreography were great. It felt a lot more like watching a play than a movie, but that is perfectly alright with me.

Every person I know who has seen this film loved it. And yet every newspaper or website critic trashed it. I'm guessing the latter have seen the Broadway show and are comparing the two, which is unreasonable. For those of us who are not rich old farts, the movie is a blast. It has its share of over-the-top cheese, but in the end, I left smiling and dancing (and sperking German).