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Robin Hood: Men in Tights
1993 - PG-13 - 104 Mins.
Director: Mel Brooks
Producer: Mel Brooks
Written By: Mel Brooks, Evan Chandler
Starring: Mel Brooks, Cary Elwes, Dom DeLouise, Tracey Ullman
Review by: Joe Jarvis
   
Mel Brooks has given us some great films (most notably “The Producers”), but he has also directed a few clunkers, and some films that are somewhere inbetween. Although a comedy classic, I don't care for “Blazing Saddles” that much and wouldn’t personally call it great. Then we have 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights'. This 1993 comedy by Mel Brooks isn't really a classic in my opinion. Yes, it's fairly fun cinematic entertainment and is recommendable. But it is definitely not representative of the best of Brook's work.

Firstly, I was annoyed by the concept. The plot is the average Prince John is starving the Nottingham folk and it's up to Robin Hood to save them, yet this version updates the fairy tale (no, it's not in a modern setting!), complete with culture references. I like that idea, but I must point out it's definitely not original. In England before this film was released, there was a kids TV show entitled “Maid Marion and her Merry Men” which also took the Robin Hood legend, spoofed it up and used lots of culture references. “Maid Marion” and “Men in Tights” had many similar elements, such as urban singer minstrels and a campy Robin of Loxley. If you noticed this like me, you’re instantly going to find this film unoriginal.

Another problem as well were the laughs. I'll admit some were funny, but be warned that they are a bit cheap. Cheap comedy can be well done in a contemporary setting (watch “Dumb and Dumber” or Mel Brooks’ own “The Producers”), but in a medieval setting, it comes off as stagey and artificial. I actually giggled at the sight of the minstrels rapping the Robin Hood legend, but Maid Marion with sex toys destroys the Robin Hood atmosphere and in my opinion is rather distasteful.

The parodies throughout, link to the clunky 1938 version titled “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and Costner's equally clunky-titled “Robin Hood: Prince of thieves” from 1991. For example, there's a cheesy pop song (which is intentionally annoying) over the credits and a lavish banquet raid scene. You'd think they'd be funny, but the problem is that the parodies seem rote rather than inspired.

On the whole though, the film was enjoyable. It was jaw-breakingly silly, but I think this adds to the fun. I recommend it, but if you want a better Mel Brooks film, catch “The Producers” or "Young Frankenstein". If you want a better comical version of the Nottingham legend, I would recommend Disney's 1973 animated version, which although it isn’t a full-blown comedy, is my personal favourite Robin Hood film other than the classic Errol Flynn version. “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” was a decent enough spoof, but it pales in comparison to the two films I'd recommend over it.

 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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