How to Succeed in Show Business Without Really Trying Again
Following yet another theatrical flop, Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) finds himself not only playing to the fantasies of another older woman in order to dupe her in to funding his next production but having to deal with nervy accountant Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick). It is Leo after an incident involving his comforter who points out that Max could make more money producing a flop than making a hit. After some searching they find the ideal play which has total flop written all over it; "Springtime for Hitler", a gay romp with Adolf and Eva.
Someone once said to me the reason I wasn't impressed with Mel Brooks' "The Producers" was because it was old with old actors which I laughed at as they obviously didn't know me and my preference for old cinema. Now having finally watched the 2005 remake of "The Producers" I find myself in the amusingly ironic situation of not being impressed with the remake for pretty much the identical reasons I wasn't impressed with the original.
As such there is a scene in the newer version of "The Producers" where Max causes Leo to have a breakdown as he grabs his little blue blanket. It is a scene designed to make you laugh but ends up grating yet like with the original the hilarity of Max playing to the fantasies of an old lady is still a lot of fun. So once again "The Producers" ends up uneven with as much humour failing as works. But as I said in my review of the original humour is subjective and I am sure there are those who will enjoy the stupidity of that blanket scene as well as others such as the recreation of the cardboard belt joke.
But what this 2005 version of "The Producers" has a musical style which reminds me of the likes of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", those big production numbers with lots of singers and dancers around one of the movie's stars. It for me adds something to the movie which I don't remember the original movie having, a sense of freshness which stops it from being too much a like for like remake.
Now I never thought I would say this but Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are as good a double act as Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. Lane is actually quite marvellous at capturing much of what Mostel brought to the role of Max Bialystock whilst Broderick doesn't try to copy Wilder's style but brings his own take on nervy to the role of Leo which also helps to make this version feel fresh. There is also a small matter of Will Ferrell cast as Franz Liebkind and unfortunately Ferrell is too over the top not only for me but this movie in general.
What this all boils down to is that this 2005 version of "The Producers" was enjoyable but only in the same way which the original entertained me which means it didn't blow me away due to the hit n miss nature of the humour.