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Just how bad is The Producers?

Just how bad is The Producers?

You’d think that a musical that had won more Tony Awards than anything else, that’s pretty much sold-out and been raved about by everyone for eons would make for a reasonable transition to film? Especially when it was based on a film to begin with?

But no. Miss R and I had the misfortune to see The Producers (2006 film version) and it was a very rare occasion when we both agreed on just how terrible it was.

For a start, the actors involved seemed to have forgotten they were in a film, not a live theatre production. Thus Lane and Broderick spent the entire film archly over-acting and mugging for the camera. This is not particularly attractive in a 70mm film format with optional zooms.

The production team also seemed to have forgotten they were making a film, and thus, had a camera which they could presumably move. Imagine watching a film where the camera barely moves – it just zooms in and out, and pans left or right, or cuts to a terrible over-mugging reaction shot. For two hours.

While not all films need to have characters you like, you’d think that even for a farcical comedy the characters ought to have something likable about them, or at least something familiar. Not these characters. The only ones I didn’t want to punch were the Nazis and the bimbo Swedish secretary. And you don’t get to say that very often.

Still, fair play to Uma Thurman. The last time I saw her she was a butt-kicking sword-fighting vengenance warrior, and now here she is as a dancing bimbo. Quite bizarre. I’m starting to realise why Barry Norman was so in love with her.

But the songs. Oh God, the songs. And why on earth did the film/musical never flipping end? Did we really need a recap from Nathan Lane in his jail cell of the entire film up to that point? Why are the Producers recreating their crime from *within* the jail without anyone noticing, and putting them back on Broadway?

I really hope the next film I see is a good one, or it could be horrible flashbacks to the last death of cinema in the summer of 1997 again…

4 Comments

  • i rather liked it…

    i'll get my coat!

  • Skarlett

    It IS the stage version put to screen.
    And I adored the stage version, and the original film, but felt that the stage version moving to screen did not translate well.

    The jail scene recap is the start of Act II on stage. So it makes sense to have the recap just after intermission.

  • Skarlett

    and I forgot to mention-
    Brooks is writing Young Frankenstein for the stage now

  • You're right about the length- they should have ended it much sooner. A suitable ending would have been them putting on the musical in prison- a jokey end to a "fun" film.

    Some bullet-time would have been good too, or perhaps some of the songs could have been human-beatboxed.

    (Plug for my own review of the Producers: http://jamesomalley.co.uk/blog/?p=157)

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