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The Producers
DVD disk
06.16.2006 By: Jason Coleman
The Producers order
Director:
Susan Stroman

Actors:
Nathan Lane
Matthew Broderick
Uma Thurman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
From the mind of Mel Brooks, comes the film version of the Broadway hit THE PRODUCERS, about two lowly schleps who try to produce a play that will be a guaranteed flop to con money from the government, with a pinch of song and dance.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
From the mind of Mel Brooks, how can that be? How can the legendary funny man, who brought us such great films as YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and SPACEBALLS, and my personal favorite LIFE STINKS, have helped create this mess? Although one has to remember that Brooks was also behind SILENT MOVIE and DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT. And while this one may have been a huge hit on Broadway, with the older generation getting a kick out of all the over the top antics of the characters, it’s not something that translates well to film. Film is the medium of subtlety, the king of nuance, so when this film uses extreme exaggeration (which is good on stage, but death in movies!) along with big musical numbers, it finds itself in the wrong medium. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many great musicals made into films, but those precious few have all kicked things up a notch, giving a sense of reality that the stage just can’t duplicate. (See WEST SIDE STORY and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW) Susan Stroman directs here with a heavy hand, essentially creating a stage production rather then a movie; this one needed a director who knew film.

Much like the direction, the acting is broad and out there, which is a great tool for a theatrical production that needs to reach the guy in the back that paid $80.00 for his seats. On film however, it just comes across like bad acting; Lane as the lecherous lothario (yeah, right!) who will do anything for a buck, Broderick as the straight man with a fruitcake side (what the hell was up with that blue blanket thing?!?!) and the mis-cast Thurman, who puts on an accent that would make even MARY REILLY’s Julia Roberts shake her head with disgust. The only saving grace of the film is Will Ferrell, whose neo-Nazi character is the one remotely funny thing about the whole film. (And even that gets tiresome after a while!) If the only audience for the film was little old ladies who saw the stage production and are ripe for a double dip, then I guess THE PRODUCERS would a hit. But for the rest of us who know the difference between stage and screen, and like our films to be…well…films, this dud seems like it’s actually in need of a producer – a film producer.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary (with Director Susan Stroman): Uh, oh . The very un-bubbly Stroman starts off her commentary track singing, not a good sign. It’s weird, but it sounds like Stroman is reading off a paper, as she has an impersonal delivery here that starts to wean on the listener. In fact, Stroman was so one-note, that I found that I couldn’t retain any of the facts she was mundanely spouting. I dare anyone to sit through this full length, annoying, tour guide style bore fest.

Deleted Scenes: A bunch of short and a few long scenes, mostly unfunny and tiresome (just like the film!), which you can watch individually (Like that button pressing, huh?) or as a Play All (19:40) , what a real treat!

King Of Broadway (5:26): Yet another horrible and boring musical number about the flop of Nathan’s first play. Anyone got that giant wood hook they used to drag people off the stage with?

Hide And Seek (0:59): A semi-funny bit with Lane tripping and falling, you know, more of that high brow humor!

I Wanna Be A Producer (0:52): Other then a little extra Lovitz, can this boring and short (Thank God!) bit be considered a scene???

In Old Bavaria (1:19): Thankfully, a little over the top Will Ferrell goes a long way, should’ve kept this in!

Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop (Reprise) (0:39): Again, more Ferrell, short but sweet. Why not take out all his stuff and make this a completely awful movie!

Along Came Bialy (With Vignettes) (6:40): Not an awful musical number, with Lane keeping things light and amusing, but it’s not exactly memorable either! (Plus the additions are slight!)

That Face (Reprise) (2:05): All little unmemorable extra, with both guys literally singing the praises of Uma. (Just say she looks hot guys and move on!)

Astor Bar (1:45): Didn’t think everyone broke into song enough? Here’s more and careful not to choke on it!

Outtakes (15:15): As always, this reel of outtakes is much funnier then the actual film with more great Ferrell and technical mess ups. (Love that guy who pops up in between those glitter dressed dancers!) Do yourself a favor, watch this one, and then turn the TV off!

Analysis Of A Scene – “I Wanna Be A Producer” (16:07): For all the elder folk in the audience who adore both the play and this film, this one is for you. Complete with a look at the making of the Producer musical sequence, with interviews from everyone to Director Stroman to the technical people behind the scenes. But you really have to love this movie to appreciate this one. (That would exclude me!)

Plus there are some forced (meaning they come on right away, whether you like it or not!) Trailers, which I refuse to list - my new rule. If you don’t give me the option to watch or not, I will choose not. (Vicious bastards!)
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Watching the stage production of THE PRODUCERS, was something I never ever wanted to do. Unfortunately, after watching the film version, I have in essence, pretty much done just that - watched the stage production. It’s not a film at all, but an over the top, laughable (and not in a good way!) excuse for a “film” and is only for hard core Broadway fans over fifty. It’s almost ironic that Broderick is in this, cause I think even the “can never go to far” Ferris Bueller would have deemed this fiasco as being past the point of no return.
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