Anthony's Film Review
The Producers (2005)
With so much excellent talent and writing, I had a great time with this comedy musical...
It does not matter whether you previously saw the original 1968 film or the Broadway musical version of The Producers. I didn't see either of them prior to this 2005 version. Fortunately, it did not stop me from enjoying it so much. I liked it enough that I regretted not seeing The Producers on Broadway. Then again, this film is a big screen version of the musical anyway, so it probably wouldn't matter all that much.
For those of you entirely new to the story, it centers around two characters. Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) is a stage producer who has produced a series of flops, including a musical version of Hamlet. Leopold Bloom (Matthew Broderick) is the accountant who dreams of being a Broadway producer. The two men figure out the perfect get-rich scheme. Instead of making a real good show and getting lots of people to show up, they could raise a lot of money for the show but make it so awful that their costs would be minimal and they could pocket the rest.
In order to get their awful show running, Max and Leo have to meet a series of quirky people. The director they hire is the cross-dressing Roger De Bris (Gary Beach), who also provides a group of gay men for choreography and other necessary production roles. For the cast, as well as secretarial duties, the Swedish beauty Ulla (Uma Thurman) steps into the picture with a lot to reveal. The writer of the script for the play is Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell), a German man who spends time on a roof with his pet pigeons. I should mention that if you think this review seems offensive so far, wait until you hear the name of the play Franz wrote: Springtime for Hitler.
The film's two high marks are the hysterical comic acting and the musical numbers. The comic scenes are quite hilarious because the actors, mainly Lane and Broderick, are wild and silly, not merely reciting mildly funny lines. Will Ferrell is especially great at this because every line he has is done with an exaggerated German accent. Though the film is both a comedy and a musical, it seems to be divided into 20% non-musical scenes and 80% musical scenes. The music is where the film really shines. The songs and on-screen choreography are done very well. After the movie ended, I found myself remembering many of the songs, including "We Can Do It" and "I Want to Be a Producer."
I really like how the story, humor, and music work so well together instead of clashing with one another. At times, you have a basic movie with dialogue and funny things happening in it. Other times, it is like you're watching the Broadway musical, and some of it is still pretty funny. Best of all, the music advances the story and is a part of it, not simply a sequence that requires putting the plot aside. It all works together in harmony. And with Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and most of the cast from the Broadway musical bringing their talents to this theatrical version, you are guaranteed to smile and laugh all the way through.
For more information about The Producers, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review of the original 1968 film The Producers.