All That Jazz (1979)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Director Bob Fosse and star Roy Scheider are at the top of their games in this dazzling, self-aware stage drama about a death obsessed director-choreographer.

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Movie Info

"It's showtime!" In this part film à clef , part musical phantasmagoria, director/choreographer Bob Fosse takes a Felliniesque look at the life of a driven entertainer. Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider, channeling Fosse) is the ultimate work (and pleasure)-aholic, as he knocks back a daily dose of amphetamines to juggle a new Broadway production while editing his new movie, not to mention ex-wife Audrey (Leland Palmer), steady girlfriend Kate (Ann Reinking), a young daughter, and various conquests. Joe cannot, however, avoid intimations of mortality from white-clad vision Angelique (Jessica Lange) that lead him to look back at his life as he heads for a near-inevitable coronary and his departure from this mortal coil with the appropriate razzle-dazzle. Taking his cue from Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963), Fosse moves from realistic dance numbers to extravagant flights of cinematic fancy, as Joe meditates on his life, his women, and his death. Following a similarly dark revisionist vein as Martin Scorsese's New York, New York (1977), Fosse shows the stiff price that entertaining exacts on entertainers (among other things, he intercuts graphic footage of open-heart surgery with a song and dance), mercilessly reversing the feel-good mood of classical movie musicals. Critics praised Fosse's daring even as they damned his self-indulgence, while Scheider was lauded for giving the best performance of his career. Though not a disastrous failure, All That Jazz came nowhere near the popularity of 1978's Grease, as late '70s audiences increasingly turned away from "difficult" movies. For all its excesses, Fosse's fiercely personal approach turned All That Jazz into another striking work from one of the few directors able to make, and experiment with, movie musicals after the 1960s.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama , Musical & Performing Arts , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Bob Fosse
Written By: Bob Fosse , Robert Alan Aurthur
In Theaters: wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Cast

Roy Scheider
as Joe Gideon
Jessica Lange
as Angelique
Cliff Gorman
as Davis Newman
Erzebet Foldi
as Michelle
Ben Vereen
as O'Connor Flood
Keith Gordon
as Joe (as a boy)
Michael Tolan
as Dr. Ballinger
John Lithgow
as Lucas Sergeant
Max Wright
as Joshua
Kathryn Doby
as Kathryn
William La Messena
as Jonesy Hecht
Robert Hitt
as Ted Christopher
David Margulies
as Larry Goldie
Sue Paul
as Stacy
Alan Heim
as Eddie
Ben Masters
as Doctor Garry
Theresa Merritt
as Cast of NY/LA
CCH Pounder
as Nurse Blake
Wallace Shawn
as Assistant Insurance Man
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Critic Reviews for All That Jazz

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (6)

By the time the film is over, the movie has degenerated with a jaundiced vengeance. Fosse's sour, grandstanding cynicism imposed an intolerable burden of self-pity on his talent, our compassion and the tradition of the backstage musical.

Full Review… | August 4, 2015
Washington Post
Top Critic

Though Scheider is a wry, sensitive actor, he soon gets lost in the vulgar theatrics.

Full Review… | August 12, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Almost every scene is excruciating (and a few are appalling), yet the film stirs an obscene fascination with its rapid, speed-freak cutting and passionate psychological striptease.

Full Review… | August 12, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A self-important, egomaniacal, wonderfully choreographed, often compelling film which portrays the energetic life, and preoccupation with death, of a director-choreographer.

Full Review… | June 17, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 24, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

It's very pleased with itself.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for All That Jazz

One of the best films I ever watched in my life.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Decent depiction of the toll the daily grind of putting together a new show takes on a director, and the tension between the drive to produce original art and the knowledge that your time has to end eventually. Spacey dream sequences, entertaining dance numbers and the spectre of mortality keep you watching... at least until the bizarre, excessive finale. A rather "out there" film, and one that's more of a "should see" than a "want to see," it's a sharp piece of art but it's probably not for everyone.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Imagine a vain dancer admiring himself while moving between two mirrors and you've an idea of this work, only that dancer is Bob Fosse, a reality show all by his lonesome, in love with hating himself for loving himself too much, endless reflections stretching to an infinity. Wildly creative and passionate about dance, this is must see for every admirer of musical comedy.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

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