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Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

'Men in Tights' is hilarious Robin Hood spoof

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Starring: Cary Elwes, Roger Rees, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Lewis, Mark Blankfield, Dave Chapelle, Megan Cavanagh, Eric Allan Kramer, and Tracey Ullman
Director: Mel Brooks
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

In "Robin Hood: Men in Tights", Mel Brooks pokes fun at Robin Hood movies from the classic "Adventures of Robin Hood" starring Errol Flynn through the sloppy and ludicrously politically correct "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" starring Kevin Costner, while throwing in a heaping helping of satirical modern pop culture references and fourth-wall humor of a level of hilarity that the makers of films like "Superhero Movie!" can only dream of reaching.


When "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is at it's best, it rivals Mel Brooks films like "Young Frankenstein" in its craziness and hilarity, but when it falters, it really stalls out. Basically, everything involving Robin Hood and his men in the forest ranks among some of the funniest material to ever be featured in a Mel Brooks movie, with the songs being particularly hilarious. Unfortunately, the opposite it true of just about anything that happens in King John's castle, which tends to be unfunny, slow-paced and generally fairly stupid. (The only exception to this are the fun homages to the sword duels of the Errol Flynn films when Robin Hood takes on the entirety of King John's army in the castle's great hall and the final duel between Robin and the Sheriff at the end of the movie.)

The weakness of the sections in the castle are purely a problem with the script, as Cary Elwes is equally funny and swashbuckler-esque in the Errol Flynn mode throughout the film, and Roger Rees is likewise consistently hilarious as the twitchy and tongue-tied Sheriff of Rottingham. (These two actors serve as the comedic heart of the film, with everyone else giving performances that bounce of them or orbit around them.)

While "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is an uneven effort from Mel Brooks, it is not as bad as some would lead you to believe. In fact, I might say that the "Sherwood Rap" and "Men in Tights" songs make this movie worth seeing by themselves. Also, anyone who rolled their eyes at Kevin Costner's sad performance in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" will especially appreciate Robin Hood's response to why the peasants will follow him in revolt against the king, "'Because unlike some other Robin Hoods, I speak with an English accent."



4 comments:

  1. This sir, is certainly a spoof, but hilarious it is not. You compare it to Brook's best? This in the same league as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein? THe thought makes me shudder. The only Brooks movie worse than this is Dracula: Dead and Loving it. However, that is just me and I am always glad when someone finds something of worth in any movie.

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  2. Actually,I said when it is at it's best it's as funny as "Young Frankenstein" and when it falls flat it REALLY falls flat. This is an uneven movie that has some great highs and some truly abysmal lows. (And I rated "Young Frankenstein a 10... and I'm fairly certain I'll give a similar score to "The Producers" when I watch it again. That puts it at the "High Rating" end of my scale, but not quite in the same league as Brook's best. "Dracula: Dead of Loving It" on the other hand will be assigned a Five (and a low one) when I get around to posting that review. Like "Men in Tights," it's an uneven movie, but it's made even weaker by the fact that it's primary target is a film that was so bad it was an unintentional spoof--that god-awful "Bram Stoker's Dracula" from Francis Ford Coppala.

    So, I guess I agree with you that "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" is worse than "Men in Tights." :)

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  3. I liked Brooks's Dracula actually; its mainly a spoof of the Lugosi movie, with just a smattering of the Coppola (mainly visual references), and it looks gorgeous.
    It's not all that funny, but I'm not sure Brooks ever is, really, just lovable.
    I enjoy all his films, but I find them all either under-rated or over-rated.

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  4. Matthew: I don't think Brooks' "Dracula" is awful, but I don't like it as much as "Men in Tights." And I suppose you are correct in your estimation of the film in relation to Coppola's Dracula. My memory was playing tricks on me, as I discovered when I recently re-watched the film.

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