182: Chicago

Chicago (PG-13) - 2003 - Runtime: 113 minutes
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
I'm not a big fan of musicals. I think the only really good musicals I have enjoyed are The Blues Brothers and ...well, that's it, really (Okay, okay, Moulin Rouge was pretty fantastic). I just don't like it when characters start breaking out into song and dance in the middle of a scene. It completely removes me from the story. And sometimes those musical numbers are long. For instance, I watched the musical movie version of Hairspray and that last dance and song was almost fifteen minutes. It was awful, it made me hate the movie so much more. And to boot, I probably won't ever be bothered to watch the original movie it's based on because of that experience. Also, Maggie and I bonded on our first date because we both absolutely loathe the musical Grease and even more so the people who love Grease. I really think it's a piece of garbage with zero entertainment value, but what do I know? I just don't like the genre.

But part of the commitment I made was to indulge in genres I don't normally partake upon. Such is the case with Chicago - Maggie had already seen it and was willing to sit down with me to watch because she enjoyed it when she saw it several years ago. And you know what? I pretty much enjoyed it. Sure, some of the songs weren't up my alley - but the story was solid and the characters had a level of depth to them that certainly Grease or West Side Story could not live up to. Plus the level of talent on display is staggering. Not only do Zellweger and Zeta-Jones deliver, but who knew Richard Gere could belt one out? Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly (it's hard for me to think of him as a serious, legit dramatic actor after I first seen him in Talladega Nights) were both fantastic, too. So props to this movie - you exceeded my expectations!

I will say - part of the reason why the music numbers didn't bother me was because they were integral to the plot and characters. The characters themselves were performers themselves. I guess that's why I liked Moulin Rouge, too. But I don't want to downplay the story - it's a tale about fame and fortune and the sheer depth that people will sink to in order to be in the limelight.

So, to 2003's Best Picture winner - I say it's at least worth checking out! If you're a fan of musicals, I don't need to tell you that it should be on your shelf, it probably already is!

Rating: Rent It!

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