Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) (PG-13)
Let's be honest—"Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is incredibly stupid. Not only does it insist on hitting the same visual and long drawn out puns that Mel Brooks made popular throughout his career; it also takes the Robin Hood story, bakes to an unthinkable char and gets served to its viewers—and you know what? It was delicious.
You'd be incredibly naive to think that "Men in Tights" is a smart comedy that relies on the intelligence of its script and the development of its characters. Instead, it's outlandish, offensive, and at times ridiculously funny.
The movie begins with the stereotypical burning of a village, to the annoyance of the villagers. They question the logic of beginning every Robin Hood movie with the burning of a village and then they tell Mel Brooks to leave them alone.
Then we actually get to see Robin Hood, who is being locked up in prison in Jerusalem. He was fighting in the Crusades when things started to go a little South.
Inevitably, he escapes the prison in the first ten minutes of the film. His newfound friend, Asneeze, asks him to look after his son, Ahchoo (bless you), when Robin gets back to England.
Then Robin plunges into the ocean and swims from Jerusalem back to England.
Most everyone knows the story of Robin Hood, or some variation of it. What "Men in Tights" manages to do, is build upon the existing Robin Hood movies and spoof them—with wonderful bitterness. Cary Elwes, of "The Princess Bride" fame, plays Robin Hood and makes a jab about being the only Mr. Hood, capable of speaking in a British accent.
True to form, there is no shortage of double entendres and sexual references (remember that "The Producers" is what put Mel Brooks on the map to being with), many dealing with Maid Marian.
Between the scenes that actually enforce and carry the story; we have time for rapping, racism, and a delightful parody of "The Godfather".
The movie's first third drags, the puns are too drawn out and not clever enough to merit any real satisfaction or humor. But the movie heats up as it plays out and becomes a guilty pleasure instead of a worthless comedy.
Perhaps the most obvious comedic performance can be seen with Roger Rees as the Sheriff of Rottingham. He's over-the-top and manic and absolutely brilliant.
The movie excels when the jokes are faster and closer together, sometimes not even giving the viewer enough time to register them before moving on.
One of the more successful, recurring gags is a mole on Prince John's face which keeps shifting positions as the movie continues.
Tracey Ullman plays the witch character Latrine, and is one of the funnier parts of "Men in Tights".
"Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is mindless entertainment. It does take a little bit before it's funny, but I think that, in the end, it is quite enjoyable.
Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones