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Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Tuesday, 09 April 2019 11:56

Screening two years after “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, Mel Brooks takes that movie’s tongue-in-cheek approach as a base line and spoofs it to within an inch of its life. Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride”, “Saw”) plays Robin, with Amy Yasbeck (“Mask”, “Pretty Woman”) as Maid Marian, Roger Rees (“The Prestige”, Warehouse 13) as the Sheriff of Rottingham (yes, you read that right) and Richard Lewis (Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Leaving Las Vegas”) as Prince John.

Brooks (“Blazing Saddles”, “Young Frankenstein”) takes a fast and loose approach, much in the style of “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” series, propelling the film forwards with an avalanche of gags and slapstick humour rather than complex plot. Thankfully Elwes is utterly winning as Robin, dashing, charming and effortlessly athletic - not a million miles from his role as Westley in the aforementioned “The Princess Bride”, just not as intellectually sharp.

How much you enjoy the movie will partly depend on your taste. I did find it quite wearing at first, failing to laugh at 90% of the jokes and finding that there is barely time to take them in before the next one lands on your lap. Everyone is ridiculed, but does that make it right to laugh at Blinkin, the inept blind member of the Merry Men, or the “Carry On” style sexism? If you can leave your political correctness at the door you will have a better time.

Brooks likes to break the so-called fourth wall, acknowledging the presence of the camera and crew on several occasions, and Robin gestures to the audience in Fleabag style at least once. Many of the jokes also reference modern things like rap music and Tomahawk missiles. Whilst a lot of the humour could be funnier, (in my view), you cannot fault the makers for the range of gags on offer.

Besides Elwes’ star turn, Rees is on good form as the Sheriff, partially echoing Alan Rickman but giving the role his own unique stamp. Lewis is also entertaining, albeit I found his mannerisms a little too reminiscent of how Gene Wilder would have played it. Cameos include Dom DeLuise doing a “Godfather” impersonation and Patrick Stewart as King Richard.

Several musical numbers do (praise be!) give the audience a moment to breathe, and these song-and-dance numbers are carried off with a certain panache.

To sum up, “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” is certainly not amongst Mel Brooks’ best movies but it does serve a particular quick-fire comedy market quite well.

The only bonus content is a brief featurette that includes some snippets of interviews and behind-the-scenes clips. It is done in the style of the film and consequently is quite humorous.

“Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (1993) is released on 22 April on Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of Fabulous Films. The main feature has a running time of 104 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £9.99 on DVD and £14.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 April 2019 12:01