Failing at Failure – The Producers (1967)

I’m sure this review won’t win me many followers, but here it is, nevertheless.  So this is about a Broadway producer and his new accountant, scheming together and finding that it would be fiscally beneficial for them to put together the biggest box office bomb of all time.  What could go wrong?  Now I don’t want to alienate myself from my readers before I hit my 30th post, but I have a fairly unpopular opinion that I tend to keep to myself: the comedic stylings of Mel Brooks typically don’t hit home for me.  I didn’t grow up with his movies, and I don’t roll around, raucously laughing whenever his movies are on…  I usually get a sideways stare whenever I share these sentiments.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve gotten used to getting looked at like a confused dog listening to his owner on an answering machine whenever I’ve expressed this. 

Comedy is easily the most subjective genre out there, and it’s not like I have an inherent desire to have a miserable time and watch this man’s library all stony-faced, but if something doesn’t make you laugh, then it doesn’t make you laugh.  Frankly speaking, I prefer jokes with more subtlety to them, and while Mel Brooks is capable of telling a joke that has layers to it, more often than not, he goes for a something loud, panders for a reaction, and goes back to doing the same thing again, like the infamous campfire scene from Blazing Saddles.  And I’ve come to terms with the fact that maybe it’s just me; the man has such a huge following, maybe I’m the one that’s wrong on this one.  More than anything, it feels like I am not included in an inside joke, and I can’t help but feel that this overt humor has become dated as these movies have aged.  I even would go so far to say that it’s just the jokes, as I did appreciate all of the actors in their respective roles, Gene Wilder especially.

Producers-WilderHe just overflows with natural charisma, and if he showed up to your party in his prime, you’d be talking about it for the rest of your life.

I was caught by surprise on a few jokes, but I suppose it didn’t help that I already knew the punchline to the main twist of the movie going in.  I would say that the big finale number is what is the standout piece of this movie, and it is a really enjoyable to see how the worst show in the world would play out.  I can see this working very well on the stage, as this type of humor works better live rather than onscreen in my opinion.  If you love Mel Brooks, this really stands a chance at being one of your favorite comedies of all time, but for me?  I’m just an outsider looking in.

The Producers (1967) ***

– Critic for Hire


2 thoughts on “Failing at Failure – The Producers (1967)

  1. I totally get where you’re coming from. Although I am a fan of Mel Brooks’ work, I do admit there are some works where I found myself asking if I missed anything, like when I saw Blazing Saddles…
    It’s really mind boggling how the 2005 film bombed when it was basically the same show, down to the costumes, choreography, etc. So yeah you’re right, this one works better onstage than on screen. Cheers!


    1. And I don’t even fault people that love his movies, I get it. He’s one of my fiancé’s favorite comedy directors; we’ve butted heads about this a number of times, to the point where I don’t even argue the point, as we’re just not going to see eye to eye on this. Different people find different things funny, and this style of comedy has always been the one where I find difficulty making a connection with.


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