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Overall Rating
3.59

Awesome: 18.07%
Worth A Look48.19%
Just Average: 19.28%
Pretty Crappy: 3.61%
Sucks: 10.84%

9 reviews, 29 user ratings



Producers, The (2005)
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by Matt Seaver

"Maybe film-to-Broadway-to-film tired this one out..."
3 stars

Despite being a theater major and my high-school musical theater background, I have always been very clear about my disdain for the form. Theatrical musicals (and the subsequent films that usually follow) tend to sacrifice complexity in plot and character and originality in writing for a nice love song or snappy closing. My brother has always said that musicals are forty-minute plays dragged out to three hours because of melodic shouting. Gross generalization, sure, but a lot of the times itís true. All that weighed heavy on my mind when I went to see the film version of the Broadway play of the Mel Brooks film.

Now, Iíve always enjoyed The Producers in all its various forms. Itís one of the few musicals I can say I really enjoyed, and that the songs didnít annoy me. This saddens me even more to look at the movie, knowing that somehow it didnít transfer well from stage back to screen. All of the elements of the play are there, but thatís just it: this feels like one step beyond setting up a video camera for a performance of the show on Broadway. Itís no longer a play, but it doesnít yet have the visual scope of a film. Susan Stromanís camera barely moves once a shot is established, something I would have thought a dance choreographer would have noticed. Not moving the camera isnít necessarily a bad thing Ė simple can be good Ė but shots hold for a little too long at times, with dialogue and especially musical numbers looking more like talking heads than the crazy characters they are.

Of all the complaints I thought I would have about the newest incarnation of The Producers, I didnít think ďThereís not enough musicĒ would be one of them. I can understand cutting some of the songs Ė Broadway shows are expected to be long and showy, and that doesnít always work for film. What really bothered me was the blatant lack of a score. Besides the overture at the beginning, there is not a single piece of instrumental music Ė if someone isnít singing, thereís no music. And for some shots and conversations where there is little or no background noise, it leaves a very eerie feel sitting in the air. There were a number of times when I kept waiting for something to start up, and it simply never did.

The best reason to see this movie is the cast. They are, to the letter, fantastic. Stroman got the vast majority of the original cast to play their original roles Ė the only notable replacements are Uma Thurman as Ulla and Will Ferrell as Franz Liebkin. Thurman is especially fun Ė since the last memorable time I saw her she had a samurai sword in her hand, this is quite the change, and a welcome one. Those two are slightly behind the rest of the cast as far as singing goes, but thereís no issue at all Ė Thurmanís voice has a very dark quality which makes it fun, and Ferrellís voice matches his kooky personality.

The stars of the film are great Ė Iím not sure itís possible for Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick to not be good in these parts Ė but every once in awhile I started to wonder if they might like to be doing something else instead; theyíve been Bialystock and Bloom for quite some time now. The changes to the cast certainly fuel some new motivation Ė Broderickís romantic scene with Thurman is particularly amusing, since she has at least six inches on him. As much as I canít see anyone else play those two parts, Iíll look forward to seeing Lane and Broderick in something different sometime soon.

This is about as on-target of a stage-to-screen port as you can find, and I am disappointed that it didnít work better for me. The lack of incidental music and clearly inexperienced directing certainly doesnít overrule the positives from the cast and the script, but it does make their jobs harder. I believe that maybe having seen the stage musical is NOT beneficial this time around. If you never dropped the money on tickets, this may be the best way to go for you.

Oh, and stay around till after the credits. If you know anything about film, youíll be looking for certain things throughout the movie. The biggest payoff comes at the end.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13661&reviewer=412
originally posted: 06/02/06 11:07:12
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User Comments

4/17/07 David Pollastrini it was better on stage 3 stars
12/28/06 Jennifer Raven was this supposed to be funny or stupid? 2 stars
9/01/06 MP Bartley Gaudy, tacky, loud...and it makes no apologies about it. 4 stars
8/16/06 Kathy Wonderful casting; kept my attention and kept me laughing through the whole movie! 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Not too bad, 1 too many perverted 1 liners, but very amusing. 3 stars
7/11/06 David Cohen Hey Broadway, quit ripping off Hollywood. Remeber when musicals were an art in themselves? 2 stars
7/05/06 millersxing A Mel Brooks comedy is no longer water cooler conversation, but it is memorable & funny. 4 stars
6/12/06 Michael Nice review. Thought Uma was fantastic! 4 stars
6/04/06 William Goss Quite amusing, if a bit overlong. Broderick misses the mark in every other scene. 4 stars
6/02/06 San Lamar UMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
6/02/06 Camilla just fun stuff, with the Mel Brooks'touch 3 stars
5/23/06 Becky Hilarious!! "Listen you broken-down old queen..." Lane and Bart are genius! 5 stars
5/02/06 Littlepurch Loved the stage show, and the film is practically as good. Lane is brilliant. 5 stars
3/12/06 Roderick Cromar Neither as bad nor as good as it could have been. 3 stars
2/09/06 Vic i lasted 20 mins..i couldnt stand it it was getting on my nerves it was so badnot even 1st 1 stars
1/29/06 Laura This is really good - definatly worth a watch despite the stagy feel 4 stars
1/28/06 Maz Utter waste of 2 Hours do not see it go and instead belt yourself stupid with a cricket bat 1 stars
1/25/06 john bale Lacking some of the magic of live stage but still terrific. Uma is magic ! 5 stars
1/17/06 DARIJA VAN HOUTEN I LOVED THIS ONE 5 stars
1/12/06 Perry Mason you can't replace Willy Wonka with Ferris Bueller. no friggin' way. Just watch it for Uma 1 stars
1/10/06 Mansi Dido Ripper entertainment for all faiths!! 4 stars
1/05/06 RICHARD FABER will ferrill steals the show as the nazi 2 stars
12/31/05 KingNeutron Hilariously over the top, but Broderick could have redone a few scenes. 4 stars
12/30/05 Littlepurch AMAZING! All the cast were good but Nathan Lane was fantastic! Hilarous. Catchy songs too. 5 stars
12/28/05 DARIJA VAN HOUTEN VERY FUNNY. I LIKED IT 4 stars
12/26/05 Luis Bode The stage version on film less a few songs 5 stars
12/26/05 C D Fantastic - don't listen to the stupid critics who trash this movie. Chances are they never 5 stars
12/26/05 Jason Morris Big, brassy Broadway musical-- hilarious from start to finish 5 stars
12/22/05 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Funnier than the original 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Dec-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-May-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  12-Jan-2006


Directed by
  Susan Stroman

Written by
  Mel Brooks
  Thomas Meehan

Cast
  Nathan Lane
  Matthew Broderick
  Uma Thurman
  Will Ferrell
  Gary Beach
  Roger Bart



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