A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film includes broad physical and what might be termed "vaudevillian" humor: ethnic, gay, and sex jokes, with language that might need explanation for younger viewers ("I shall take your virginity!" "You had to schtupp every little old lady in New York..."). The film also makes fun of a neurotic man's blanket fixation, Nazis/Hitler, prison, accountants, and actors ("Kill all ze actors!"). Since the movie is a satire, only kids old enough to recognize the movie's tongue in cheek references should see it.
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What's the story?
THE PRODUCERS begins and ends with an odd couple, cynical Broadway producer/old ladies lothario Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) and accountant/aspiring producer Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) in conjuring a surefire plan for profits: they will produce the worst show ever, collect lots of financing, and close it opening night. Written by and starring Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell), "Springtime for Hitler" means to set the record straight on Der Führer. Or maybe not quite. When Liebkind breaks a leg on opening night, flaming director Roger De Bris (Gary Beach) steps in, and the show's a stupendous hit and the producers are ruined.
Is it any good?
Broad and blustery, the film version of Mel Brooks' musical, (not to be confused with the non-musical film on which the musical is based) is too long and too strained to be much fun. It's a big fat sardonic musical which demands grandeur, gaucheness, and above all, giddy delights. Director/choreographer Susan Stroman's Producers delivers these elements in seeming bulk, with gigantic gestures and broad blocking left over from the stage production.
The most romantic moment in the film is Leo's testimony at Max's trial. This love ballad reveals Broderick's lovely voice and sets the ground for the closing scene in prison. Here the boys are putting on another scam show, now having found their ideal milieu, not to mention a captive audience with terrible taste in set design. It's almost too bad that they are pardoned, for bringing "joy and laughter into the hearts of every murderer, rapist, and sex maniac in Sing Sing." That's something.
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