Critic Review - Chicago Reader

Stanley Kramer strikes out again with this elephantine 1963 attempt at uproarious comedy.

November 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (3)
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pwstreamline

Perry Williams

When you look at how this story "kicks off" and develops beautifully with all the streams of chaos which erupt and develop in tandem, the fertile ground is sowed with a bounty of comic seeds, right from the get-go.

Exploding from this launchpad, which is crafted with the promise of hilarity and a rich palette of characters, this movie delivers on its promise, each blazing trail unfolding in a way that loyally develops every single character through a plethora of adversity- simply ludicrous tribulations which expose and test the most vulnerable aspect of each individual caught up in this farce.

All this bedlam unfolds in a way that is absolutely crazy and hilarious. And it really does all come together in a wildly entertaining crash landing fueled by a totally unexpected twist. But then, the work itself reveals its unassuming charm and self-effacing nod to its true roots: without apology, borrowing the most obvious cliche in the entire history of cartoons, it all climaxes in the fat lady not singing, but busting her *** by slipping on a banana peel.

When you just look at these aspects of what happens on the screen of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, this movie's a gas, man.

But that's not even acknowledging the top-drawer, world-class icing on this cake, which is the most fantastic, perfectly suited, amazingly composed and arranged comedic musical soundtrack that you could possibly ask for, which adds another full dimension to the experience. The music from this work of art just sticks with you for the rest of your life, in the most entertaining way, and I speak from experience, as I, wide-eyed and barely into the second grade, was in that "Cinerama" theater in Atlanta with my dad, both of us laughing our asses off, in the fall of 1963. Up until his death a year ago, Dad and I must have relived that experience through TV, tape, or DVD a dozen times. And multiply that many times over, in the enjoyment of the CD from this picture.

I can see where it would be so easy to be distracted by the gargantuan ("elephantine," if you're partial to speaking in slurs when describing great works) aspects of this movie, both in scope and number of top comic actors, to where you could miss the point that this movie, by necessity, had to hit you with a straight-ahead story. But it does so with total charm, welcome familiarity (like an ice cream cone- just as fun and special as it is recognizable), heart-stopping, state-of-the-art action and stuntwork for its day, and a tangible hilarity that makes it 100% entertaining to pretty much everyone, regardless of age, even regardless of language.

This picture is an incredible achievement on many levels. To dismiss this work of wonder as a mere attempt is to expose your personal difficulty in appreciating pure genius without pretense. But to call it a strike-out is to reveal to all, not anything notable about this movie, but rather a pretty desperate need on your part to be perceived as superior.

Oct 14 - 08:43 PM

freezingicekirby

freezingicekirby Shafer

"To be perceived as superior"? Geez, you people never cease to amaze me sometimes. Was that little tirade of yours really necessary? If the guy didn't like the film, he didn't like the film... You don't have to go acting like a child and make up reasons as to why he didn't like the film. Not everyone enjoyed this film or consider it a masterpiece. Live with it.

Sep 13 - 10:11 AM

freezingicekirby

freezingicekirby Shafer

"To be perceived as superior"? Geez, you people never cease to amaze me sometimes. Was that little tirade of yours really necessary? If the guy didn't like the film, he didn't like the film... You don't have to go acting like a child and make up reasons as to why he didn't like the film. Not everyone enjoyed this film or consider it a masterpiece. Live with it.

Sep 13 - 10:13 AM

Lillyvon

Gabby Wabby

You obviously lack a sense of humour Mr Druker. What a shame!

Jan 29 - 09:56 PM

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