The Producers

The movie doesn’t work, but Nathan Lane and Uma Thurman shine in this big-screen adaptation of the Mel Brooks classic-turned-Broadway musical. The same can’t be said for Matthew Broderick, who struggles on screen in the role played by Gene Wilder in the non-musical original. Lane actually does Zero Mostel proud as Max Bialystock, a role born almost 40 years ago. Max is a down-on-his-luck producer who hatches a scheme to make money on a flop. The result is Springtime for Hitler, which, of course, turns out to be a hit. Thurman is fabulous as Ulla, a role expanded from the original film into a full-blown excuse for singing and dancing. Will Ferrell mugs the hell out of his role, the Nazi pigeon handler who wrote the insane musical. Director Susan Stroman has made a surprisingly bland, flat film that needed some better lighting. It’s almost as if the thing were shot with the lights off. Her film looks incredibly dull.

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