Hmmmmmm so very very tricky to decide here, what can I say...I enjoyed this as a stand alone film on its own, and when not compared to the original. As a stand alone farce its a great piece of comedy but of course it so difficult not to think and look back to the original material.
To be honest this is a classic example of a remake that, in terms of the movie, didn't succeed in doing anything other than show you should never try to remake a classic. Of course because of the flick there was a big renewed interest in the forgotten classic and a very popular theatre show, which is all good as its perfect for the theatre in every sense but the actual film is a poor imitation.
There are certain parts in this film I loved, mainly anything to do with Nathan Lane who is a superb comedic actor with fantastic skills in facial and physical comedy. Some of his leers and chubby prat falls are brilliant and really compete with Mostel's first performance. On the other hand there are some truly awful moments of...plagiarism basically where the same funny line or sequence has been attempted from the original and it just bombs hard. Some scenes simply cannot be replicated from the genius of Wilder and Mostel.
A huge issue with me was the casting of Broderick who is so so so so weak an actor I just don't understand how he gets work. Is it all simply down to 'Ferris Bueller'!!?. Terrible actor and he really shows it here with a dreadful performance that lets the whole film down badly. Sure he can sing a little, move well and he does look the part but he just isn't a strong enough character for comedy, he's too shy and reserved and a bad partner to Lanes terrific greasy comb over sleaze.
To be honest some of the casting is poor in this film accept for Lane, Beach and Bart all of which were inspired choices. Thurman and Ferrell were totally out of place and show why it can be a bad decision to cast big names when lesser known folk would work so much better. Also Lovitz could of been used in a better role instead of the extra unnecessary sequence he was in. Where was Dom Deluise that's what I wanna know, the perfect film for him.
The film looks fantastic I gotta say, well it basically looks like a stage performance that's just been filmed really. Not a bad thing as the colour and razzle dazzle is all very well directed and comes up peachy on your screen. Lots of musical numbers and extra padding to fill out the length which is again nice but also loses some of the originals charm. The old adage of less is more and this new film really does go overboard when it didn't have to. Obviously the film was meant to be a precursor to the real theatre production (a prequel of sorts to see how it would fare) which is fine but I don't know why they went down the musical route with the film instead of sticking to the better farcical comedic angle. I just felt a lot of the source materials essence was lost trying to craft the film into something else when they still could of done the theatre show and kept this film like the original.
Last thoughts are positive for the film as its nice to see musicals back on the big screen looking as lush as this but as a remake its nowhere near as good as its forebearer. Quite a poor copy in places but it does have its highlights which can make you forgive. If your seeing this for the first time then I strongly recommend the original first of course.