My first experience with The Producers was on Saturday, May 31, 2003, when Juliette and I saw Jason Alexander and Martin Short in the Los Angeles production at the Pantages Theatre. I think I can honestly say I've never laughed harder at any other play. It's too bad that I saw it before I saw the 1968 film; the original suffered in comparison--to me, at least. We were excited to see the new film version of the musical, but I'm not sure why--after loving the stage version so much, how could a movie hope to live up to it? And, really, it didn't. There wasn't the same energy to the movie as on stage and, in fact, a fair amount of the production was too theatrical and didn't come off well on screen. To top it off, Uma Thurman just wasn't right for the part. She looked good enough, sure, but she didn't have the voice or dancing talent to carry the role. I think the film's producers wanted to bring some extra star power to the movie, but they ended up kind of killing some of my favorite scenes from the stage musical. Still, the rest of the cast was pretty good. I think I preferred Martin Short to Matthew Broderick, but Nathan Lane was excellent. And I particularly liked Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia. Surprisingly, I even liked Will Ferrell--for once, his overwrought screeching was right for the part. If you have the chance to see The Producers on stage you should definitely take it. If not, I'd say that, even though this version had its faults, the source material is good enough to make the movie worthwhile.
Viewed: 1/6/2006 | Released: 12/15/2005 | Score: B