It’s not as if I’ve been in the best of moods lately – and I won’t bore you with the details of why – but I’m in a better one now, thanks to seeing The Producers tonight. First of all, it’s a musical and I reckon it would be pretty hard not to be cheered up by singin’ and dancin’. In fact, even if I were watching Grease 2, quite possibly the WORST musical ever made, it would cheer me by virtue of its sheer audacious badness and clumsy double-entendres. Michelle Pfeiffer’s echo chamber solo of “Cool Rider” while straddling a ladder? The bowling alley production number of “We’re Gonna Score Tonight”? Adrian Zmed? I like the way musicals try. Even their misguided efforts can make you smile goofily and forget your own un-art directed life.
But The Producers is nothing at all like Grease 2 (except that both are musicals) because it takes totally inappropriate subject matter and makes it funny. Which is why it’s funny? No, in lesser hands, a musical about making a bad musical about Nazis would be just stupid and offensive. As the whole theatre roars at the set piece “Hitler in Springtime” I’m thinking to myself, “Should I be laughing?” There’s such a weird feeling of roaring out loud when something really shocking appears on the screen, such as a dance formation in the shape of a swastika with a gay Hitler and showgirl played by Uma Thurman emoting from the centre.
(I’m just waiting for the Google searches that come out of that paragraph. Drop the Hate, losers!)
In the beginning, The Producers does feel very theatre-like because you have to get used to the exaggerated characters and set-like sets. And on into the first musical number it starts to feel like something out of the old Hollywood “let’s put on a show” musicals when Nathan and Matthew waltz down the streetscape and get into a cab complete with one of those fake backgrounds of other cars on the street. But once I was in, I was completely suckered in to the world on the screen. It’s pretty darn rare for a movie to hoover me in, body and soul, and let me forget about all my usual neurotic annoyances.
I wouldn’t want to spoil for you, now that you want to go see it too, all the details of the storyline and the cameos. My only advice is to stay for the credits.
I’d also like to send out a big Thank You to Miss Angie, for the swell New Year’s Party last night. You were a darling hostess.