Reviewed by: Keith Howland
|Featuring:||Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Will Ferrell, Uma Thurman, Roger Bart|
|Producer:||Mel Brooks, Jonathan Sanger|
Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) is a producer. He was once the toast of Broadway, but he is quickly becoming its laughing stock. His latest show-a musical version of Hamlet-closes the same night it opens. Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) is a hapless, neurotic accountant. He visits Max to tell him that the funds for his latest failure do not add up: he raised more than he spent. Leo muses that someone could actually make more money with a flop than with a hit, provided he raised much more of his investors than he needed; then, when the play closes, he could flee the country with the surplus.
Max grasps the idea with both hands, wooing Leo to become his partner and fulfill his secret dream of becoming a producer. The pair set out to find the worst play, the worst director, and the worst cast they can find to ensure a dud. They find it in the form of “Springtime for Hitler” by Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell), flamboyant director Roger de Bris (Gary Beach), and Swedish leading lady Ulla (Uma Thurman). Their plan seems faultless. But plans do not always turn out as you expect…
You may have missed “The Producers” on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. Now you do not have to travel to New York City, worry about understudies filling in for the leads, or pay nearly as much money for a ticket. But you will still get a Broadway musical, for even with Hollywood-type names added to the roster, the film remains quite stage-bound. But, then again, musicals are not what they used to be. “The Prodocers” is not a wholesome Rodgers-and-Hammerstein production like “The Sound of Music” or “Oklahoma”. It is filled with good music and performances (Broderick is a hoot having a panic attack, and Ferrell is funny as a crazed Nazi pigeon-keeper turned playwright and performer), but the content is so besmirched with sexual (and homosexual) “humor” that the whole production is degraded beyond pardon. It is a shame that a number of genuine belly laughs must suffer alongside such tastelessness.
If there is a “moral” to the story of “The Producers”, it is that dishonesty and trickery triumph. That is not too good, either. None of the swindlers, reprobates, or Nazis receives any comeuppance in the film. It may be just a lark, but the story essentially condones any kind of behavior. This is quite a contrast to the character of people that Jesus commends in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), and it ignores nearly all sense of morality that humanity ought to possess as image-bearers of God.
Given the film’s heavy reliance upon sexually-themed jokes, as well as a good deal of profanity, scantily clad women, and some cross-dressing, it is far from suitable for children. If adults wish to see it, make sure you stay all the way through the end credits, because some of the best laughs are found there.
Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
Year of Release—2005 / USA release: December 16, 2005 (limited) / January 13, 2006 (wider).
Positive—I have to comment on Jamie Gonzales’ comments.
1. Hello! Everyone knows it’s a musical!!
2. As for it being “horribly cast” most of the ORIGINAL Broadway cast revived the roles that they had. It seemed to make a lot of money with this cast, so horribly cast is just wrong. And it is one of the biggest Broadway hits ever, which should tell you something, too.
Average / 5
—Monica, age 25