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  Film Reviews: And All That Jazz: Chicago  

Wednesday, February 26
And All That Jazz: Chicago
I love musicals. Musicals are perhaps the greatest entertainment invention in the known universe. You see, absolutely anything can happen in a world where people are permitted to burst into song.

Imagine if real life were like this. Think about how wonderful your world would be if you could sing the “I’m So Miserable in My Cubicle” song or if you could sing “I Just Met the Hottest Guy In The World” song – of course you would be afforded the best in musical accompaniment, dancers and costumes while singing said song.

Really, think about it. You know what would happen if you stood up at your desk and yelled, “I’m miserable in my cubicle!” You’d be talking to Human Resources about the wonderful mental health benefits your company reserves for all associates. If you were to yell, “I just met the hottest guy in the world” in a bar, you’d hear him mumble something along the lines of “bunny boiler” as he made a quick dash for the door.

Somehow, though, musicals make this behavior perfectly acceptable.

“Chicago” is the unlikely story of Roxie, a girl that shoots her lover when she discovers he can’t make her a star. Her husband does everything he can to hire Billy Flynn (a lawyer that’s never lost a case for any of his female clients) to help Roxie beat the wrap. To top it all off, Roxie is in jail with Velma, an actual star who had committed a double-murder that same night AND still managed to take the stage on time. If you have to wonder how this will all pan out and whether or not there will be bigger-than-life characters, then you simply don’t know musicals.

In a regular movie, this would all seem contrived and ridiculous. Set it to song, however, and it becomes something exciting. Suddenly, “Chicago” is an event and we learn that even the most ridiculous of events makes sense once the gals sing through everything. Besides, where else will you get lyrics like “so I fired two warning shots…right into his head” that you feel perfectly comfortable singing along to once you buy the soundtrack?

As I write this, “Chicago” has been nominated for quite a few Oscars. And rightly so. Hollywood used to be all about musicals when movies were meant to entertain as much as humanly possible. We’ve come a long way in film and have stretched what film can mean to many different people. At the same time, though, we’ve seemingly abandoned the fundamentals. Thanks in part to “South Park” and more so to “Moulin Rouge,” I think we’re actually seeing the beginning of the musical resurgence.

For those of you that are married to, dating or are friends with men that feel seeing musicals are not-so-manly, you have an ace in the hole. That is the aforementioned “South Park” movie. Rent it one night. Your husband/boyfriend/friend will watch the film and laugh a great deal. At the very end, casually say, “that was a great musical.” It may take a few moments to sink in, but they will realize that, yes, they’ve really just watched a musical. They will realize that they’re the same guy they were when they started watching the film. This is your window of opportunity to mention wanting to see “Chicago.”

The Usual:

What It’s Worth: Full-fare, this is entertainment! Be sure that you go all-out on the movie food. That’s popcorn, candy and pop!

Annoying Theater Goer: Super-Size SUV dude and date. First they steal our parking space (one that the Super-Size SUV did NOT fit into), then dude pushes his way through the lines and husband and I to get to concierge desk to pick up their tickets to “Chicago” while being as annoying and pushy as possible. Small amount of satisfaction is realized as clerk husband and I pick is far more efficient concierge than one dude picked.

Main Reason To See This Film: The musical numbers!

Main Reason Not To See This Film: There is a point at which you feel just a bit closer to Queen Latifah than you’d prefer.

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Nudity: No.

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