Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Producers

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual humor and references

Reviewed by: Keith Howland
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy, Musical
Genre:
Length:
2 hr. 14 min.
Featuring: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Will Ferrell, Uma Thurman, Roger Bart
Director: Susan Stroman
Producer: Mel Brooks, Jonathan Sanger
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

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).


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I thought the film was a satiric work of art. The premise is laughable, and it’s supposed to be. The casting is incredible. Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane do a great job. I like musicals, and as far as musicals are concerned this one’s a hoot! There’s obviously some homosexual and sexual humor, but it’s all done in a laughable manner. We’re meant to laugh at the whole thing. It’s silly humor that isn’t meant to be taken too awfully serious. The underhanded tactics used by Broderick and Lane are not successful, so I don’t see how this is promoting underhanded tactics. All in all, I think the film’s great. I would see it again.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Benjamin Cooper, age 18
Positive—…I went, not knowing what to expect, except that Lane and Broderick were the Broadway stars, and viewing the interaction between the two, I laughed till I cried on more than one occasion! (Mostly in the first third of the show). I haven’t laughed so much in a long time, and I’m not a movie laugher. It was way over the top, as a stage play would be, and I loved the the chemistry between the two. They are now doing “The Odd Couple” on Broadway.

That being said, the gay thing was waaay over the top and would have been more offensive, except that it’s Broadway, which is known for stuff like that. Only go if you can deal with it. My daughter is a theatre major in LA, and Broadway is her goal, so of course I pray a lot! Actually, the gay thing was more ridiculed than presented as a desired lifestyle, as in most Hollywood movies now. I don’t know if anyone else would enjoy it like I did, but I really had to suspend Truth, remembering the show’s popularity, and just enjoy the interaction, knowing it’s mild for Broadway.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—Anne England, age 57
Positive—I just got back from viewing this movie. I have never seen the Broadway version, but I did see the original 1968 film starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, which I love. I am reading the reviews and am a bit puzzled. This movie is a MUSICAL COMEDY, right? Why all the offense? What else was one expecting to see at a MUSICAL COMEDY, but comic performance? If Max Bialystock was not a womanizing swindler, but instead someone who went to nursing homes to call Bingo games or help feed the elderly tapioca, would it be a MUSICAL COMEDY? He might be commendable, but where is the humor? The overt gayness of the Director and his assistant were characters. They used a lot of gay references for humor purposes and it worked. I recall that Leo Bloom refused to have premarital sex with Oola; isn’t that commendable? Wow! Where else is that practiced in movies today? Some reviewers truly need to lighten up and get realistic. If you walked out of this one, I feel sorry for you.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Todd C, age 43
Neutral
Neutral—First of all, I am a huge fan of Broadway and musicals, and so I had a pretty good idea of what kind of off-the-wall humor I should expect when I came to see this film. For anyone who fails to appreciate the art of musical theatre, however, you will probably find this film to be more offensive than it is worth. From an artistic stand point, I felt that the acting and singing was outstanding and that the casting could not have been better. There were numerous scenes that had me bursting out in laughter (something that is rare for me during a movie). I feel that some people tend to take this movie far too seriously. After all, it is quite clear that the characters are so eccentric and lacking in any moral backbone that it should be laughable. If it weren’t so outrageous I would be more offended myself, but because the movie is meant to be ridiculous, and isn’t in any way attempting to teach a moral lesson, I don’t see a problem with any reasonable adult seeing it. It bothers me to see a movie that, for instance, tries to be romantic but is subtley immoral by depicting a couple engaging in pre-marital sex (like in the overrated film, “The Notebook”), but “The Producers” is so outlandish and unsubtle that it makes it clear that the film isn’t really trying to push any kind of “agenda” on it’s viewers, but is simply trying to make them laugh.

In real life as in most films, I would never approve of the kind of immoral behavior depicted in “The Producers,” but because of the type of film it is, the moral degradation doesn’t really bother me. If you are, however, easily offended by sexual innuendos, dishonesty, gays, etc., then I would not recommend this movie. On the other hand, if you are an adult above the age of 17, that can recognize the ungodly behaviors without accepting them as being “ok,” but instead understand that this movie isn’t meant to be taken seriously, then you’re sure to have a great time!
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Erin, age 20
Negative
Negative—“The Producers” is one of those shows where you have to know where you stand in your walk in the Lord. If you are a devout christian who studies the Bible and takes everything to heart, like myself, then I would suggest you not watch this. A friend of mine, who’s a christian, reminded me that Christ told us not to be OF this world. I cannot promote this movie for that reason. There is a strong push on homosexuality, some cross-dressing, and swindling of old ladies (which some may actually laugh at). This is definetely not for children or devout christians. If you love the Lord and want to do his will, don’t see this movie. Christ would be disappointed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Alex, age 19 (USA)
Negative—I go to movies for entertainment and am sometimes able to overlook offensive content if it is brief and necessary to the story line. However, I do not appreciate films that have an obvious “agenda” as “The Producers” seems to have. The blatantly pro-homosexual content of the movie was offensive and seems to be an apparent part of the renewed effort by Hollywood to advocate and “normalize” homosexuality through other films, such as “The Family Stone” and “Brokeback Mountain.” My wife and I were so offended by the content that we left the theater well before the end of the movie. This is the kind of movie that Christians need to take a stand against. Otherwise, Hollywood takes the lack of opposition or protest as a sign of tacit approval.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Larry S., age 51
Negative—This film had great laughs, but there was a lot of homosexual humor and flamboyance. As much as I liked Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman, and Will Ferrell, this film has too much offensive humor. The musical numbers could use some work, and when I get the chance, I WILL see this on Broadway. Hopefully, the musical will be better than the movie. However, I had no idea that Matthew Broderick could sing. He can really carry a tune!
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Shannon, age 24
Negative—My parents and I were originally going to see “Walk the Line,” but it was sold out, so my mother suggested we see “The Producers” instead. Mistake on our part. My father ended up walking out 20 minutes into the film, and I would have done the same, but I didn’t want to hurt my mother’s feelings. I disliked it for a number of reasons:
  1. The shrill voices used by many of the film’s male characters got on my nerves.
  2. Will Ferrell was terrible in this movie. Having seen a couple films with him, I consider him to be easily one of the worst actors I’ve ever seen blundering across the silver screen, and he stunk up every scene of “The Producers” in which he was present. It seems as if the only thing he knows how to do in his films is yell at people incoherently, which is not funny.
  3. The film’s rather sick (And unrealistic) portrayal of homosexuality. At least “Rent” portrayed homosexuals in a somewhat realistic light (Not that I’m defending THAT film, either).
  4. It promoted dishonesty. Nathan Lane’s character pretended to love all those older women just to get enough money to finance his plays.
  5. The “If You Got It, Flaunt It,” song promoted the idea of women dressing indecently, and I’m surprised Uma Thurman would agree to appear in such a demeaning role. As someone recovering from an addiction to softcore pornography, I had to struggle to keep from being overly tempted by her in that song.
However, the movie did have some good points. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick were both good, and I liked the cameo by Jon Lovitz in the beginning (Playing Broderick’s boss at the accounting firm). He’s a fine actor and comedian, and it was good to see him in movies again. Also, the movie did get a little better towards the end. Still, I’d recommend avoiding “The Producers” unless you’re a fan of the Broadway show.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2½
—Adam, age 21

Comments from young people
Neutral—Being someone who could be classified as a musical theatre freak, I went to this movie expecting some unethical content, but not nearly as much as I saw. The only thing which makes me rate this move “Neutral” instead of “Negative” is that every aspect of the movie is shown as a joke. The scenes of gay men show them in an over-the-top way which makes them look rather stupid. One thing that would make anyone squirm is the costumes (or lack of costume) on the women. I only saw one modest dress, and it was worn by a man. There were moments when I had to hide my eyes and groan out loud. On the other hand, there were moments where I had to laugh—parts of the movie are funny. In the end, I guess the likeablility of this movie depends on the person seeing it. …if you don’t mind prancing gay men …than this film is the choice for you.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Tiffany, age 17
Negative—I was able to preview this movie …It was SO horrible. I walked out of the theater feeling degraded. The whole film was a musical, and most of the songs were terrible. Uma Thermon’s character at one point sings a song about a woman having curves or whatever and “if she has it flaunt it” and “show it off,” “there’s only once” “thank nature for giving it to you”… etc. There are a lot of references to sex in this movie. …a lot of references to gays… It was horribly written, horribly cast…
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Jamie Gonzales, age 17

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.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Monica, age 25

Negative—I went with a group of friends to this movie, we all agreed that it was a BIG disappointment. …I don’t like musicals, but the addition of all the sexual and gay references (there was quite a bit) doesn’t make me want to recommend this to anyone (Christian or not) . What made my experience worse was hearing a group of little kids laugh every time they made a joke about gays, this shouldn’t be a family movie.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3½
—John Malcom, age 16
Negative—Let me start off by saying, I almost never give movies bad ratings. I have reviews over 20 movies on this site and never gave one a negative, but this movie was generally not funny, rude, and just plain dumb. It had a lot of gays and gay references that weren’t even funny. There was a lot of sexual humor, and songs and implied sex as well as sexual dialogue and actions having to do with old ladies. How sick! I’m not a strict Christian when it comes to rude humor (I love Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, and Jim Carrey, in most movies) but this movie was super rude, and it wasn’t even the least bit funny. I gave this movie a 1½ because Will Ferrell was hilarious. However, he was only in 2 big scenes, and those 2 scenes were the funniest and only funny scenes in the whole movie. I felt bad for my mom who gave me the 6 bucks to see it. Overall, not funny, very rude and immoral, and just stupid. My friends and I almost left the theatre, and that’s unheard of for me. Don’t waste you’re money and time. Trust me.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1½
—Tyler Smotherman, age 13
Movie Critics
…bawdy… makes excuses for criminal and immoral behavior, with strong homosexual content in a comic, satirical context…
—Movieguide
…Canned theater, and a stale can to boot…
—The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt
…Often riotous, this silly romp provides laughs…
—Crosswalk, Christian Hamaker