Movie Review: “The Producers”

This 2005 colorful movie musical stars Broadway/film actors Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.  The lyrics to the songs (by the hilarious Mel Brooks) are terrific; I got the CD pf the play several years ago.  They are joined by traffic-stopping beauty Uma Thurman, who wears some of the most beautiful dresses I’ve seen recently onscreen.  Oh, and she sings as well! 

Sleazy Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Lane with a purposefully bad hairdo), is very depressed after his recent play (Funny Boy, a comedy version of Hamlet) closes on Broadway. 

After a bad review, Max explains himself in a song; below are some lines (that I REALLY liked):

I am Max Bialystock!
The first producer ever to do summer stock in the winter!
CHORUS:
Once he was the king…
MAX:
You’ve heard of Theatre in the Round?
You’re looking at the man who invented Theatre in the Square!
Nobody had a good seat!

Max gets his books examined by shy accountant Leo Bloom (Broderick- looking boyish as always).  Thinking out loud, Leo comments that one could make more money with a flop than with a hit.  Max is overjoyed!  He even asks the neurotic Leo to join him- become a producer.  Leo confesses that being a Broadway producer has been his “secret dream.”

Max and Leo find a play that is sure to offend people of all backgrounds- Springtime for Hitler by Franz Liebkind (Ferrell), an exciteable German ex-soldier who raises pigeons on his rooftop.  Oh, he also adores the Fuhrer! 

Ulla, a bubbly Swede, comes in to audition for a role.  Max and Leo’s eyes nearly pop out of their heads as they watch her sing and dance.  “If you got it, flaunt it!” Ulla belts out (see above pic); this was coined first by Mel Brooks.  That Ethan Hawke is one clueless shlub for letting Uma go!

Next, Max and Leo seek out Broadway’s worst director, Roger De Bris (Beach, a great Broadway actor/singer).  Yes, he is wearing an evening gown resembling the Empire State Building!  His very gay team (personal assistant Carmen, choreographer, costume designer, etc.) all live with him in a VERY feminine mansion (actually a private school on the Upper East Side). 

How can you NOT love lyrics like this!?:

ROGER & CARMEN:
A happy ending will pep up your play…
ROGER:
Oedipus won’t bomb…
CARMEN:
If he winds up with Mom!
Keep it gay!
ROGER:
Keep it gay…


By “gay” Mel Brooks meant “happy/light/breezy” BUT it takes on a different connotation when sung by a big guy in a dress.  LOL!!!

Violinists love to play an E-string
But audiences really love a G-string

Ven I was yust a little girl in Sveden
My thoughtful mother gave me this advice
If nature blesses you from top to bottom
Show that top to bottom, don’t think twice

Who are those little old ladies?  They’re lonely, rich, and Max’s “backers” (who he puts “on their backs”).  You get the picture!  These ladies are all Broadway actresses who are great comics, dancers, singers, etc. 

Max explains the relationship in a song:

They’re my angels
I’m their devil
And I keep those embers aglow
When I woos ’em
I can’t lose ’em
‘Cause I cast my spell ‘n’
They start yellin’
Fire down below!

How can you NOT laugh?

Check out this movie because you’ll see:

1) Great interplay/physical comedy/timing from BOTH Lane and Broderick

2) An AWESOME dance (waltz) number with Broderick and Thurman

3) Lots of cool NYC locations

4) Terrific sets, costumes, song, and (especially) dance

5) Beautiful girls wearing nothing but pearls (actually intricate bodysuits with pearls created especially for the dancers) in a BIG dance sequence reminiscent of old Hollywood

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