Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.
Year 1, Day 127
BEFORE: I have seen two of Mel Brooks’ films before this (Spaceballs and Blazing Saddles), but I have never seen his debut film, The Producers. Brooks has a very distinct style of humor that can be hit or miss for me (loved Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles was alright), so I don’t know how The Producers will play.
AFTER: It’s getting late and it’s been a long, extra-hour day, so I’m forgoing a well written introduction and getting right into some critiques.
Part of Brooks’ humor is in the bizarreness and the absurdity of the ideas, both for the film as a whole, and for specific jokes throughout. The premise of the films is that two producers Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) are going to make a play idolizing Hitler to guarantee a disaster and ensure their fraud scheme will result in a big payday for them. It’s a great idea and it ended up winning Brooks an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
I said the humor could be hit or miss and I’d have to call The Producers a hit. There were a few parts that weren’t funny and that dragged on for far too long, but there were also many scenes and jokes that were hilarious. My favorite bit in the film is when Bloom is explaining to Bialystock how the profits are being divided up amongst the investors. From that point on in the film, I became really invested in the characters and the story because I started to get the humor which in turn means I understood the film more.
While The Producers is quite funny, especially once you get into the film a bit, it certainly wasn’t the funniest Brooks movie I’ve seen (that title still remains with Spaceballs for now) nor one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen. The best comedies are able to get me laughing right away and keep me in a state of laughter for the entire movie. The Producers was slow to start and was only intermittently funny. This is one of those films to watch on a rainy day with nothing else to do; not one to stop your day and squeeze in time to see it.
RATING: 3 out of 5