Musical Comedy

[3.5] Pia Zadora and Craig Sheffer star in a no-budget sci-fi rock opera that’s so abominable, it’s almost charming. When a bunch of space dudes in pink costumes land on Earth looking for the source of rock music, they find it in Zadora’s singing. While Zadora starts to fall in love with the lead alien guy (Tom Nolan), Sheffer gets jealous and decides to stop …

[7.0] I can’t imagine a harder franchise to revive than The Muppets. They’re so innocent, so low-fi, so much a product of the 70s and 80s… is it possible for them to garner new fans, or are kids today just too busy and cynical to give felt a chance? The verdict is out (at least until the weekend box office results are in), but as …

[6.0] A handful of fun musical numbers and charismatic performances make Grease an entertaining ride. John Travolta, Stockard Channing, and Jeff Conaway are the ones who really shine. Olivia Newton-John is better when she’s singing than when she’s acting, but the fact that she was able to pour herself into those skimpy leather pants at the end should surely count for something! I wish the …

[8.0] This version of Hairspray disarms you from the very beginning notes of “Good Morning, Baltimore” and builds to one of the most joyful finales of any movie in recent memory. The musical numbers are all superbly choreographed and staged by director Adam Shankman, but it’s the last half-hour of this movie that really seals the deal for me. The climactic performance of “You Can’t …

[6.5] The Muppets have my blessing to reinterpret any piece of literature they want (except maybe Naked Lunch). It’s fun to see which characters are played by which Muppets, and all my favorites are featured in The Muppet Christmas Carol, from heckling critics Statler & Waldorf to gruff Sam Eagle. Michael Caine gives a faithful performance as Scrooge, and a lot of Dickens’ exact lines …

[6.0] This movie version of Irving Berlin’s musical is chintzy fun kept afloat by cartoonish performances from leads Betty Hutton and Howard Keel. Watching the movie at this end of the feminist movement can be frustrating. While Annie Oakley is presented as a strong, brutish character, she ultimately stifles herself to win the love of Frank Butler (Keel). The film is also considered racist for …

[9.5] Two drag queens and a grouchy transsexual brave the Australian outback to perform at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Lord of the Rings) plays the drag queen with a secret, Guy Pierce (Memento, LA Confidential) plays the flaming provocateur, and in a brilliant bit of casting, Terence Stamp (General Zod from Superman) plays the grieving post-op woman whose …