Monday, September 2, 2013
THE PRODUCERS (2005)
A while ago, I did a review on Mel Brook's first film "The Producers" which I found so funny and well casted that it's impossible to remake. However, Mel Brook's did have the guts to do it.
In 2001 Mel Brook's made a Broadway musical adaption to his first film and it won 12 Tony Awards out of 15 nominations and has won Best Musical. Now I enjoy the show, I love the new songs and some of the updates to the characters. Casting Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick was fine and even though they're not Mostel and Wilder they're at least satisfying. Unfortunately due to the success a remake on the film was made based on the musical.
What's the plot, simple. A failing great and washed up Producer Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) and an accountant named Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick)plan to make more money with a flop then with a hit. They receive a Nazi glorifying play called "Spring Time For Hitler" which is written by a former Nazi. They must now get an awful director, raise the money ,find an actor to play Hitler and when the play closes on the day it opens, he and Leo head off to Rio. Will it work?
Like I said before "Casting Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick was fine and even though they're not Mostel and Wilder they're at least satisfying". In Broadway play wise YES, in film wise NO. Seeing them in a Broadway show as the characters, come on we know they're going to play their selves but we're seeing them do it live and in almost every performance they at least do something a little different with their roles then we saw them do it the night before. Now for a film everything they do is stuck on the film and that means they must do it right and must come off as funny. Are they funny in this film, well they actually come off as annoying copycats on Mostel and Wilder. Nathan Lane is no where near Mostel and I don't see him as this old aging fat man, I see him as Nathan Lane. Matthew Broderick perhaps may have played the role funny on stage but here he's bland and annoying. None of these two great stars are as good as Mostel and Wilder. Mostel and Wilder were naturally funny, these two act like they're doing a live show on film and feel like they should play their selves instead of the characters. Oh and the chemistry is NOT THERE! It's corny as heck.
The supporting cast, some treat it like a movie while some treat it like a live show. Will Farrell as Franz Liebkind is not the character or as good as Kenneth Mars, he treats it like he's on SNL only without being funny. Umma Thurman as Ulla. Nice update to the character and looks hot, however Umma Thurman is not Ulla in the slightest, she's just Umma Thurman with a very bad accent. I hate to write this but her portrayal as Poison Ivy is better than this. Roger the gay director (Gary Beach) and Carmen Ghia (Roger Bart) the assistant and Roger's lover, play their roles as if they were on Broadway again. Even Jon Lovitz can't bring a good laugh.
Now the film itself is not treated in anyway like a film, it's treated like a Broadway show recording. The scenery looks like a Broadway set, New York City doesn't look anything like New York in the 50's and the musical numbers while being good songs and being well choreographed look like Broadway recordings of the show and I have to admit most of them are kind of annoying do to the casting. The jokes are like "Family Guy". Entertaining, maybe provide a laugh or two but uses and rehashes the same jokes and dialogue in a very unfunny matter and sometimes try to make them funnier which usually fails. This film I'm afraid is one of Mel Brook's worst, well at least he didn't direct it.
Now if I were watching a well directed Broadway recording of the show I'd probably enjoy it a lot better. However, when a film is trying to look like a Broadway show instead of a movie, it takes away the purpose of making a film. It's also trying to be a cheap copy of the original with it's unfunny rehashed jokes. Overall it is an entertaining movie but it's defiantly no where as good as the original and is something I'd rather see on Broadway then on film. I do enjoy the songs, so I will listen to the original Broadway cast and yes even listen to the song made for the film for the credits"There's Nothing Like A Broadway Show". It's love or hate film, I despise it but I get why it has a fan base.