New York, 1959. Max Bialystock was once the king of Broadway, but now all his shows close on opening night. Things turn around when he’s visited by the neurotic accountant Leo Bloom, who proposes a scheme tailor-made for producers who can only make flops: raise far more money than you need, then make sure the show is despised. No one will be interested in it, so you can pocket the surplus. To this end, they produce a musical called Springtime for Hitler written by escaped Nazi Franz Liebken. Then they get the insanely flamboyant Roger De Bris to direct. Finally, they hire as a lead actress the loopy Swedish bombshell Ulla (whose last name has over 15 syllables). As opening night draws near, what can go wrong? Well, there’s no accounting for taste…
After reading critics’ reviews I thought twice about seeing this film. But I needn’t have worried as this was fantastic entertainment. I don’t seem to care that the director has kept the stagy sets and took a literal approach to adapting a stage musical for the big screen. It was a fun time from beginning to end.
While his portrayal of Leo Bloom was too much like Gene Wilder’s, Matthew Broderick was simply divine when dancing. Indeed it was an interesting to see the top half of his body so still and rigid while his legs and feet were moving with such poise and grace. Nathan Lane never seems to disappoint, he is simply brilliant. His physical resemblance to Zero Mostel is obvious but the mannerisms are all his own. Uma Thurman is good as Ula and Will Ferrell rediscovers his funny.
I didn’t even mind the over-the-stop stereotypes. Gary Beach and Roger Bart are screamingly funny. Springtime for Hitler is the best part of the show and nice to see John Barrowman giving it his all as the blond Nazi.
If you want to be entertained for a few hours then this is the movie to go see, don’t let the critics put you off!