Money can’t buy you love and the new Producers movie proves it can’t buy you a good film either. Sadly, this glitzy remake of the classic Mel Brooks film (and blockbuster Broadway musical) just doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s still the same zany, lighthearted story about a pair of producers who attempt to strike it rich by putting on the worst musical ever but somewhere along the line it has lost its wit and become totally brainless. What’s especially disappointing is that theoretically this movie had everything going for it. It boasts a star-studded cast, an outstanding creative team (Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan wrote the screenplay, Susan Stroman directs), and a wildly successful theatrical run. But even though the costumes and cinematography are admittedly beautiful and it’s as glossy and polished as the next Hollywood hit, the Producers manages to feel completely uninspired.
Susan Stroman is undoubtedly a very talented theatrical director, yet her efforts here feel awkward and a bit over done. The direction definitely has its moments (the dancing grannies are great) but overall is just doesn’t pop.
The performances are uneven at best, and with few exceptions the actors are all merely playing AT their characters, mugging for the camera and laughing at their own jokes. Surprisingly, Matthew Broderick plays a smug and boring Leo Bloom and is completely insincere and uninteresting in the role. Uma Thurman is undeniably gorgeous but feels totally miscast as Ulla and next to seasoned theatre actors she appears self conscious, timid and lackluster. Nathan Lane is great as Max Bialystock but still, isn’t this a role we have seen him do a thousand times before? Will Ferrell however, is truly the standout in the cast. He is fantastically hilarious as Franz Liebkind, the author of the infamous Springtime for Hitler. It’s almost worth the price of admission just to see him do his thing…almost.
If you’re looking for a good time, try to score some tickets to the musical; failing that, rent the classic ‘cause there ain’t nothing new here.
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.