The Producers (2005) (PG-13)

After almost forty years since the original shocked audiences with its sexual jokes and interesting drug addicted characters, Mel Brooks produced a remake of his career beginning film.
The plot is the same, a broadway producer Max Bialystock is making one horrible play after another that are closing soon after they open. When an accountant, Leo Bloom, comes to check Max's books, he finds something curious—you can make more money with a flop than with a hit.
Max jumps on the idea and tries to get Leo to help him pull off their wonderful scheme but Leo is a self-proclaiming nervous, spineless, coward. But, like all movies, it soon takes Max two songs and a harsh boss for Leo to realize that he could do better. So it's off to cheat people out of money.
Max and Leo decide to recruit the worst director for the worst play ever written. They find the play "Springtime for Hitler" and then get the playwright (Will Ferrell) to sign off for them using it.
The men also need an assistant so they hire the sexy Swedish Ulla Inka Hanson Benson Yanson Tallen Hallen Swadon Swanson or "Ulla" for short. Ulla is played by the always perfect Uma Thurman who trades in her "Kill Bill" martial arts for dresses and a dumb blonde attitude. This role is perfectly hilarious for her and she just nails it.
What makes the movie is the chemistry between Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick as Max and Leo respectively. Both lead actors played their parts before on Broadway. In fact, the only lead actors who didn't play "The Producers" on Broadway are Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell.
"The Producers" is just as offensive as its 1968 predecessor, but I think that this film works on many more levels. The quickness of the lines and the overly dramatic emphasis placed on everything isn't great film making but it is highly enjoyable at that.
The sets all look strictly Broadway and the cast is in top form.
Some people dislike the film for the punches it pulls; but I can't help thinking that maybe those people have less fun than I do.
I have a very high standards for comedies and can think of only a handful that I would say are great...this is not one of them. A comedy, for me, has to be real enough to be taken as a drama if necessary. A comedy shouldn't be played by funny actors but by dramatic actors who are having horrible times in bad situations that let the viewer sit back and laugh at their misfortune. A comedy should move people.
Now, I have nothing against jokes and puns and visual tricks like the ones "Airplane!" uses but I don't consider them to be great comedies. Funny and wickedly entertaining, but not great.
"The Producers" is on the verge of greatness for Nathan Lane's performance alone. He's so addictive to watch on the screen. Matthew Broderick is better than Gene Wilder as Leo but he does get overshadowed a little just because of the personality of the roles between Leo and Max.
The funniest moments that stick out to me all involve either Nathan Lane or Uma Thurman.
"The Producers" remake is absolutely better than the original—quicker, louder, and more colorful.

Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

1 comment:

  1. As you know, this is one of my favoritest movies ever. I know there was a lot to say about this one, but you forgot to mention IT'S SOOO QUOTABLE. There are things that just don't grow old. I think I do every day of my life. There are bits that are a bit over the top, seeing as they picked them right off the stage and shoved them on screen.

    Lane and Broderick were incredible. They're chemistry is spot on, both in movement and line delivery. It's arguable whether Broderick or Wilder did a better job considering some movements seemed identical. However, the lack of chemistry in the original pulled Wilder down a bit. Not his fault, but still. One thing I know you're happy about is that Ulla isn't completely oblivious in this movie. Something I thought I should mention.

    I still miss Mr. LSD. Gosh, thinking about that scene cracks me up.