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."