February 16th, 2003

flavored with age

My kinda town

Went to see "Chicago" yesterday. Was it good? Sure, it was good. It was a lot of fun, and in the end I didn't come away thinking "I paid nine bucks for that?!?". Was it great? Not even close. Not 13-Academy-Award-nominations great. Not even one-Academy-Award-nomination great (although, personally, I'm hoping it wins at least one Oscar -- shout out to my boy Reilly).

The editing was done in that quick-cut, dizzying, ultra-flashy way that we apparently passed a law saying all musicals have to use. Note to Hollywood: just because we like music doesn't mean we don't have an attention span. After I got home, I watched "My Fair Lady", and I don't remember saying 'Jesus, this thing drags. What it needs is a bunch more microsecond-long jump cuts.' So that was distracting. And the acting was, well, it wasn't great. It was good; there were no obviously shitty performances, and although I didn't like Richard Gere or Renee Zellweger, that has more to do with personal antipathy than the actual quality of their performances (which were competent if not dazzling). The problem is, they acted SUPER BIG, like they were all on stage. And they weren't on stage. Certainly, in a movie musical, you can't underplay or go subtle, but you don't have to be bombastic either like you do in actual musical theatre. Perhaps worst of all, IT WAS NOT FILMED IN CHICAGO. And, in the end, it just wasn't a great movie -- it was well done, a lot of fun, an enjoyable diversion, but nothing that you walk away from saying 'wow', the way a great movie ought to do.

All that said, the choreography was terrific, Catherine Zeta-Jones is easy on the eyes, Queen Latifah was delightful, and the show (despite closing on a weak number) has some terrific songs. So okay.