Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Producers

Before I start the review proper, since there might be some who just like a peek at what the movie offered and missed out on my all important tip, so I shall mention it first. Stay until the end of the credits roll. Not only will you be entertained by the song sung by Will Ferrell during the roll, and some ad-lib at the end about buying 'Mein Kampf' from Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, you'll be treated to one last short song-dance sequence sung by almost all the cast in turn, telling you to get lost, get out because the movie's over. Only A Nutshell Review consistently tells you if there's anything worth waiting for at the end of the credits, cos I stay behind 98% of the time, to bring it to you. Enjoy! (Oh, the remaining 2% are times when I definitely know there's nothing, or I need to rush to the loo).

Anyway I enjoyed The Producers more than I enjoyed Rent. Perhaps I'm not as deep and prefer my musicals to be fluffy entertainment, at least for those which made the transition from stage to screen. This Tony Award winning musical by Mel Brooks tells the story of down-on-his-luck Broadway musical producer Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane), and his accountant Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick). Max is an unscrupulous, unethical producer who obtains financing by making the wishes of horny rich old ladies come true, by being their elderly boy toy, while Leo is an aspiring producer wannabe suffering from a case of severe insecurity, who hatches a plan for both of them to strike it rich to the tune of a million dollars each by making a dud musical.

They go all out to find the worst script - Springtime for Hitler, written by Neo-Nazi Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell, in a better outing than the boring Bewitched), hire the worst director Roger DeBris (Gary Beach)- a gay man with a gay crew (lead by Roger Bart) decked in Village People outfits who all unanimously agree to make a gay musical, get the worst actors, and stumble upon one hot Swedish chick - Ulla (Uma Thurman).

There are plenty of madcap humour and sexual innuendo incorporated throughout the musical, which doesn't bore and kept things fresh somewhat. The cast obviously seem to be having a riot of the time, with their one-dimensional characters hamming it up. A few scenes stand out given its extended length in song and dance, especially those that involve Max and Leo getting their cast and crew to sign on the dotted line.

In particular, I enjoyed the sequence where they had to convince Franz to give them the rights to his Hitler musical, and it's a hoot to see the "well-trained" animatronic pigeons trained in Nazism. And who can forget the scene with Roger DeBris as they had to suffer the eccentricities of a director who swings the same way. Uma's scenes were all crazy and funny, as she had to speak in this accent that provided plenty opportunity for puns. And ooh-lala, can she shake that bootie :P

We do get to see a bit of Springtime for Hitler though, but that signalled a decline in pace for the entire musical. It was as if the job has been done, and the plot was forcefully extended for that bit of soul searching and closure by the characters Max and Leo.

It's pretty enjoyable, with some nice songs, and some very nicely choreographed scenes (I dig the one where Leo had gone back to the drudgery of his accounting firm, with robotic co-workers singing about being unhappy). If you're barred from Rent because you're underaged, then probably The Producers could make it up to you with its brand of song and dance.

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