The Producers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A Broadway impresario (Nathan Lane) and his accountant (Matthew Broderick) plot to embezzle a million dollars by corralling investors for a show, staging a surefire flop ("Springtime for Hitler"), and pocketing the leftover funds. Directed by Susan Stroman, this screen adaption of the hit musical--itself an adaptation of the farcical 1967 movie by Mel Brooks--is a strange mix of the terrible and the wonderful. Some of the characters are stridently unfunny (Will Ferrell's Nazi playwright, Gary Beach and Roger Bart's flaming queens), yet Brooks's sweetness, innocence, and boundless love of the infantile inform everything from the brassy production numbers (capped by an homage to Jailhouse Rock) to the final credits. Despite the pretense of cynicism, this hokey dinosaur is the precise opposite of Chicago in tone and spirit. With Uma Thurman. PG-13, 134 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Crown Village 18, Gardens 7-13, Lake, Pipers Alley, River East 21.

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