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Overall Rating

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

9 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Producers, The (2005)
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by Elaine Perrone

"37 years later, it's still Springtime for Hitler."
4 stars

After skewering director Rob Marshall for his mistreatment of Arthur Golden’s delicate Memoirs of a Geisha, it seems only fair to give praise where glorious praise is due him – for his dazzling transfer of the musical Chicago from stage to screen. Watching Susan Stroman’s rather clunky screen adaptation of her own (and of course Mel Brooks’) Broadway smash hit, The Producers, I couldn’t help but long for a bit more of the same movie magic.

That’s not to say that the third incarnation of The Producers is without its joys.

Mel Brooks’ characters are as fresh – and side-splittingly funny – today as they were when they first made their groundbreaking appearance in 1968. The exploits of lecherous, luckless producer Max Bialystock and his sidekick, ultra-neurotic accountant Leo Bloom, are a delight, as are the antics of cross-dressing director Roger De Bris and his “common-law assistant” Carmen Ghia. In the hands of Will Ferrell, neo-Nazi playwright and Hitler disciple Franz Liebkind is as much a hoot now as he was 37 years ago in the very different hands of Kenneth Mars. (Gone from the original movie in both the stage musical and the 2005 film is Dick Shawn’s hippie-dippy Hitler, Lorenzo St. DuBois a/k/a LSD, the only character that would undoubtedly have compromised the script’s timelessness.)

Even improving on the original is the character of Swedish sexpot-secretary-starlet Ulla, as portrayed by Uma Thurman (“Ulla/Uma”?), in an impressive personification of the title of her knockout solo, “When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It.”

Likewise, Gary Beach appears to be having great fun reprising the role he made his own on stage as flamboyant, talent-challenged director De Bris, and Roger Bart (“Desperate Housewives”) might well deserve a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his hilarious utterance of the single word “Yesssssssssssss.”

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick have been criticized elsewhere for their over-the-top performances in the movie, accused of still “playing to the cheap seats,” a charge I find hard to swallow since neither Zero Mostel nor Gene Wilder was exactly a study in subtlety in the original film.

Where the transfer from live theatre to screen falters is in Stroman’s staging, a setbound affair in which almost every scene appears to have been lifted in one piece out of the St. James Theater and dropped intact onto the studio soundstage. That the overwhelming sensation of neophyte Stroman’s screen “direction” is of her training a video camera on the proceedings and instructing the actors to emote only exacerbates the feeling of their playing to the balcony.

Notwithstanding the disappointingly stagy and claustrophobic feel of The Producers 2005, Mel Brooks’ classic script alone elevates The Producers Any Year Any Version to “must see” territory. For me, the only two things left to ponder are (1) why-oh-why was Rob Marshall somewhere else when he might have been here? and (2) I wonder what Susan Stroman might have accomplished with Memoirs of a Geisha.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13661&reviewer=376
originally posted: 12/21/05 15:52:11
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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
1/12/06 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
12/26/05 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
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  16-Dec-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-May-2006



Directed by
  Susan Stroman

Written by
  Mel Brooks
  Thomas Meehan

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

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