The Producers

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Jan 142006
 

The Producers (2005)

Bringing the Tony-Award Winning musical back to the big screen -The Producers tells the story of a down on his luck producer (Lane) and his accountant (Broderick) and their get rich quick plan.

Directed by
Susan Stroman

Genres
Comedy, Musical

Cast
Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell, Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Eileen Essell, Jon Lovitz, Andrea Martin, David Huddleston, Debra Monk, Jane

You surely can count on Mel Brooks for a good time! Much of this movie is very stereotypical, completely over the top and very, very funny. The actors-especially Wil Ferrell in an inspired performance as a neo Nazi playwright-have been given free reign to do whatever they want and they make the most of it.

The biggest problem with this movie is-it’s a Broadway play on film. You felt like breaking into applause after the lavish song-and-dance numbers, as you would were you at the theater. Not that this is bad per se, but it just works better in live theater than it does in a movie. Nathan Lane stares into a silent camera at the end of his big number and it seems lonely. As with all things Mel Brooks, there were lots of fun little surprises and cameos.

I did not see The Producers on stage, but I think I would have enjoyed it more. I like both Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, but they played the movie as if they were playing to the theater…which means they “over-played” their parts a bit. However, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it, but I think the director needs to know next time to translate these things a little bit better for the screen.

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Be Cool

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Nov 132005
 

Be Cool (2005)Disenchanted with the movie industry, Chili Palmer (John Travolta) tries the music industry, meeting and romancing a widow of a music exec (Uma Thurman) on the way.

Directed by
F. Gary Gray

Genres
Comedy, Crime, Music

Cast
John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Andr? Benjamin, Steven Tyler, Robert Pastorelli, Christina Milian, Paul Adelstein, Debi Mazar, Gregory Alan Williams, Harvey Keitel, The Rock, Danny DeVito, James Woods

Get Shorty was an excellent film. It was funny and had the perfect balance of highly comical acting and a serious plot. Be Cool is like some cheap knock-off trying to pass for a sequel. John Travolta as Chili Palmer seems to have forgotten that he was ever in the mob. He plays it like he’s a bored movie exec, rather than a bored movie exec who used to be a Shylock. Uma Thurman, great in nearly every role she’s ever played, comes off as strained and confusing. Is she supposed to be ditzy or clever? The chemistry between her and Travolta is strained and uncomfortable. Other than that, just add every movie clich? you can think of. A well-educated rap producer by Cedric the Entertainer, an inept gangster wannabe in Andre 3000, the girl with heart, soul, and a good set of pipes in Christina Milian, a gimmicky black dude wannabe in Vince Vaughn, and a stupid celebrity cameo by Stephen Tyler. The only funny part was the Rock, who invents his own new clich? as a gay Samoan bodyguard actor wannabe. Probably the biggest crime is the plot: IT MAKES NO SENSE. Get Shorty was clever with Chili playing one group against another and coming out on top. But this film tries that with about a million different characters. And even Chili doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. Fans of Get Shorty be warned: this is a very different, very worse movie.

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