Kander and Ebb's Roaring '20s retro-chic stage musical, adapted by Bill Condon, centres on antagonistic murderesses Roxie Hart (Zellweger) and Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones), and shyster attorney Billy Flynn (Gere), to whom each turns hoping to regain liberty. Velma was already a showgirl; Roxie simply dreams of seeing her name in lights. And the show follows her example by imagining reality in terms of stylised song 'n' dance numbers. How you react to the overriding 'life's a show' metaphor - I found it slick, cynical and superficial - will matter less than how you like the tunes, the hoofing and the translation of a brazenly theatrical piece into cinema. The razzmatazz songs display a certain nostalgic facility, and the leads give them all they've got. But Marshall betrays the dancing by never letting us see it properly. The alternating between glitzy fantasy and unconvincing drab reality is also handled clumsily, so it's left to individual sequences to carry the day. Renée and Richard's courtroom interrogation scene rated best, and much of the rest is, well, energetic.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Fred Ebb, Bob Fosse|
|Cast:||John C Reilly