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The Producers review



I've only seen bits and pieces of the 1968 original, and I was unable to see the Broadway production.

But I was able to see the movie of the Broadway musical based on the classic Mel Brooks movie, The Producers.

Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) is a prolific producer of perpetual... well, crap. His Broadway production of Hamlet: The Musical (Yes, a musical version of Hamlet. How the hell did he expect that to fly?), bombs on Opening (which quickly becomes Closing) Night, and let's just say that he is a little distraught by such an outcome. The man pimps himself out to little old ladies to raise the financing for his productions, and wants all that suffering to be worthwhile for just once in his life.

Enter Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick), Max's new accountant. While going over Max's books, Leo discovers that Max has actually made a small profit from his last disaster. It dawns on Leo, an aspiring Broadway producer himself, that a person could make a lot of money if they raise more money than they need to produce a sure-fire flop. Max thinks this is a brilliant idea, but Leo has some moral qualms. However, after much soul-searching (and a couple of musical numbers) Leo decides to join Max in his multi-million dollar scheme.

Everything seems to be going fine as they find the worst, most offensive, play they can find, "Springtime for Hitler" written by a former Nazi played by Will Ferrell. I'm normally not a fan of Ferrell's work, but I guess it is hard for even him to ruin Mel Brooks' material.

They also hire the worst director on Broadway, Roger DeBris (Gary Breach), who pretty much lives and breathes fabulous gay stereotypes (including a production team that looks a lot like the Village People). If Jack from "Will & Grace" had a gay father, this would be the guy.

"Break a leg" may be the theatre's version of "good-luck," but when a cast member actually does break a leg, everything goes horribly, horribly, right.



I can't let this review go by without mentioning the bubbly Swedish leading-lady, Ulla, played by the more than lovely Uma Thurman. Ulla's audition is not only jaw-droppingly sexy, but hilarious, too. If you can peel your eyes away from Ulla (which is very difficult) watch Max and Leo's reactions to her performance. From what I understand (and correct me if I'm wrong) the Ulla character was added just for this movie version (although I'm more inclined to believe it was added to the Broadway version).

I liked this movie, I really did. I can't say that more than two or three of the songs are rememberable but the film is enjoyable none the less. There is a well-known scene from the 1968 version where Leo (played by the brilliant Gene Wilder) breaks into hysterics at the thought of attempting such a scheme. Broderick practically channels Wilder's performance in this version! If you close your eyes you'd think it was Wilder himself gasping out that he was wet, yet still hysterical.

There aren't any real show-stopping performances in this film, although there are several laugh-out-loud moments (as evidence by the reaction of my fellow audience memebers). I give The Producers a B.
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