Publicity Stills of "The Producers" (Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Musical/Comedy
Director: Susan Stroman
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell, Gary Beach, Roger Bart, Eileen Essell, Michael McKean, David Huddleston
RunTime: 2 hrs 14 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 6 April 2006


Two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to their celebrated roles as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, a scheming theatrical producer and his mousy CPA who hit upon the perfect plan to embezzle a fortune: raise far more money than you need to producer a sure-fire Broadway flop and then (since no one will expect anything back), Max and Leo can pocket the difference. To do this, they need the ultimate bad play, which they find in the musical Springtime for Hitler. Their plans come to naught and the duo are taken completely by surprise when their new production is hailed as a toast-of-the-town hit. Uma Thurman stars as Ulla, the Swedish secretary/slash/ receptionist and would-be showgirl, and Will Farrell brings his spot-on comic talents to the role of Franz Liebkind, the neo-Nazi playwright (and pigeon fancier) responsible for penning the “worst play ever written.”

Movie Review:

When you have a plot that’s about two conniving Broadway producers trying to strike it big by putting up the worst play ever written, incidentally about Adolf ‘Elizabeth’ Hitler, with the help of the worst director they know and the most disastrous cast they can assemble, it’s hard to expect anything short of absolute madness. And this update of the play based on a movie about a play is, indeed, absolute madness, and thank goodness for that.

Starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, the irresistible Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell, “The Producers” is nothing if not well casted. Thurman steals the show as the sexy Ulla but it’s Will Ferrell who’s the knockout of the show; the movie would have been a class lesser without his sidesplitting performance. The trick to making movies like this work is without a doubt, commitment. There’s no way a half-hearted cast could have pulled this off, but the talented actors are able to reel you into their mad, mad world of singing Nazis and dancing (drag) queens without missing a beat, and that’s quite something.

It’s a respectable feat because “The Producers” is almost like watching a kid who has attention deficit disorder all hyped up on sugar. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. There are moments when it seems like the movie is losing it but all you need to do is throw logic out the door and laugh at the crazy people doing crazy things – that’s really all there is to it. It’s loopy entertainment but hey, at least they’re funny doing it. Besides, it’s the movies, not quantum physics; what did you expect?

That said, it’s not like “The Producers” is completely inane. Insane, yes, but dull it definitely isn’t. Written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, the movie is packed with witty lines and puns that fly off the wall, and the musical numbers are catchy and energetic. The story itself is snidely satirical and shamelessly villainous, its irreverence as though mocking the very industry it’s feeding on. Isn’t it ingeniously ironic that the movie is well-directed, well-acted and everything its subject apparently isn’t? Now if that isn’t cheeky genius, I don’t know what is.

The only complaint with the movie must be its length – the scenes after the disastrous play, Springtime for Hitler, premieres to unexpected applause are a little superfluous but “The Producers” gets away with it. And you laugh at them for getting away with it, simply because they were so sassy, so over-the-top and simply, so hilarious while doing it.

Movie Rating:

(Irreverent and clever, “The Producers” is a rollicking good time – watch it if for nothing else but Will Ferrell. Simply uproarious)

Review by Angeline Chui

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