Chicago (VHS, 2003)

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Chicago - Just Didn't Click With Me

Mar 9, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Catherine Zeta-Jones was excellent.

Cons:Where's the passion?

The Bottom Line: Doesn't live up to its hype. Rent it on video if you must.


Preamble
I admit to being an uneducated movie chick. I didn't see this when it first came out because it just didn't seem like my kind of movie. Friends, family, and co-workers kept on telling me that if I liked Moulin Rouge then I would definitely like Chicago. Well I loved Moulin Rouge so you know I had to go see this.

The Story
Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) dreams of performing on stage. One night, she catches the act of Vera Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and imagines that she is the one up there singing and dancing.

In order to get herself on stage, Roxie gives herself to a furniture salesman - Fred (Dominic West) - who tells her that he has "connections". After carrying on an affair with him for a month, he finally fesses up that he was just stringing her along. Upset by all of this, she pulls her husband Amos' (John C. Reilly) gun out and shoots him three times. Yep. He's dead.

Although Amos tries to cover up for Roxie, she ends up going to prison. While in prison, she meets up with the infamous Vera (who is also on trial for murder). When Roxie solicits her help, Vera snubs her. Good thing that Momma Morton (Queen Latifah) comes to her rescue (for a price of course) and helps her enlist the assistance of attorney Billy Flynn (Richard Gere). In the 47 cases he has tried (all women), he hasn't lost any. Sounds good for Roxie, doesn't it?

Or does it?

And I Thought...
I've seen a lot of new releases over the past year and how this is nominated as best picture just totally baffles me. Sure, it has its moments but it pales in comparison to other films that are more worthy of the honor. The sad thing is that this is probably going to win (soooo much hype) when it shouldn't.

Why shouldn't it?

I'll just come right out and tell you that I think director Rob Marshall was way over his head. He may be an excellent choreographer (and it was good here) but as a director, he stinks.

Unlike Moulin Rouge, Chicago struggled with trying to find the balance between song and story. There was no feeling of fluidity (gee is that a word?!). I felt like the musical numbers were a stream of consciousness and what story there was, was squished in between just so you could sort of/kind of understand what the characters were singing about.

I was thinking all the way home from the movie - what about it just didn't click with me? It came to me. There was just no passion. Maybe there wasn't supposed to be. Maybe I was too much in my Moulin Rouge head. I just couldn't connect with a story that lacked passion.

Some of the camera angles were just too busy and for the most part - unnecessary. There's only one exception to that rule and that was the opening scene where we're introduced to Catherine Zeta-Jones' character. Me thinks that Mr. Marshall was more consumed with trying to highlight his own choreography then to tell a story.

Enough director bashing...

I'm a big fan of Renee Zellweger and even though she did okay here, I just didn't feel like she flushed the character out enough. Sure, I was impressed with her singing and dancing ability but again, not worthy of an Oscar Nomination in the Best Actress category.

The music was above average and I can understand why the soundtrack is flying off of shelves. The songs that were the best in my opinion, were the ones that Catherine Zeta-Jones sang.

And speaking of Catherine, I was extremely impressed by her. As Vera Kelly, she was gorgeous, manipulative, talented, and funny. I never knew that Mrs. Douglas could sing and dance like that. Go on wit your bad self!

Richard Gere, who wasn't nominated - should have been. He was a bright light in an otherwise dismal story. I didn't think I'd get into the American Gigalo being an older, out-landish lawyer, but it worked for me.

Queen Latifah was okay. John C. Reilly was okay. Definitely NOT Oscar worthy performances though.

Parental Information
Not that many children under 13 would enjoy this :) but just in case, Chicago is rated PG-13 for sexual content and dialogue, violence and thematic elements.


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