8 October 2001 | bbrown2676
As I figured...
As I am reading the comments here I am finding that they are just as I has thought. Some are voraciously against this adaptation, these all seem to be those that are purists of the original stage play. Some are rabidly in love with it, these are primarily families and those that love Joey (sorry, Joe) McIntyre. But the majority, of which I include myself, simply like it.
I watched this with an open mind since I love the original play and had to watch it a second time to really see how I felt about it. Some of the modifications are admittedly baffling, such as the rewrite of "Metaphor", but by no means really detract that much from the original. If there is one thing you can see from this production it is that Hollywood does not know how to deal with a musical anymore. They all panic about marketability and political correctness which can ruin a great show. That being said, I still really enjoyed this production. The addition of the Carnival allowed for a fanciful feel while still grounding the main characters in reality. The character of El Gallo is allowed more freedom to orchestrate the romance between Louisa and Matt by taking a theatre convention of the omniscient observer and applying it to a film. We in the theatre are used to seeing a character come on and off stage, setting scenes and so forth, yet it is a convention rarely used in film but can be done far more effectively since the character does not have to worry about getting set pieces on and off and can simply be a mystical figure. The performances are wonderful, though Joel Grey is woefully underused. Jean Kelly is fabulous as she always is (Uncle Buck, Mr. Holland's Opus). Joe McIntyre is not the greatest actor but his lack of skill adds to the awkwardness of Matt that is revealed once reality sets in. Jonathon Morris is a fabulous El Gallo, much more charming and witty than some of the "salesman-like" El Gallo's I have seen. All in all the things that differ from the original play do not detract from the film itself. All they do is differ from the play. Would that this filmed production were done on stage it would be a mere shadow of the original stage version, but that is why this is a movie and that is a play.