by Greg Muskewitz
Silent Movie: Often risible reintroduction circa 1976 of the, as the title states, silent movie.Mel Brooks is Mel Funn, a once acclaimed director until his drinking problem put a stop to it. He gathers up his crew (Dom DeLuise, Marty Feldman) and set out to save a big studio from being bought out by the Conglomerate, Control & Devour. The idea is laughed at, but agreed upon only if Funn can attract some Big Stars (Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Anne Bancroft, Liza Minelli, Marcel Marceau, Paul Newman). Silent Movie is, naturally, a silent movie, and as much as that may be anti-prolepsis, given the right material, it could work. And work it did, more hilarious than I could have hoped for. What slapstick is funny to whom always varies, and doesn't always have them same effect from one to the next, and since what one person finds funnier than the next, considering my affinity for Silent Movie, the actual response to it will probably be not as high as mine, but still quite funny. Never one for silent films, Silent Movie is a great situated comedy and in addition to that, along with the added cameos, it is a fun peek at a fictional inside-Hollywood. Most of the slapstick works smoothly, while other segments slightly falter (the knight scene, the first meeting with the studio head), but with scenes so constantly topping each other from one to the next, those that are not so funny are requited by those advancing. Cleverly written by Brooks, enjoyably directed, and a genuine treat.Final Verdict: A.
"Tip top silent film, tip top slapstick!"
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originally posted: 01/17/01 11:12:19