Okay, this one is just strange. The idea of musicalizing a Shakespeare comedy with Great American Songbook standards sounds great on paper, but boy, does it fail to work on screen. Granted, they didn’t exactly pick a top-drawer Shakespeare play for their source, but that really isn’t the main problem with the movie.
The problem is that the songs, drawn largely from Porter, Berlin and Gershwin, clash severely with the Shakespeare text, partly because of the modern language in their lyrics and partly because the songs aren’t properly integrated and seem to come out of nowhere. This, combined with the sometimes frighteningly hammy acting and the play being cut to incomprehensible ribbons to make room for the songs, results in a bizarre non-sequitur of a movie that you’re never sure what to feel about.
Admittedly, there are movies I have reviewed (like the subverted kids’ film Happy Feet or the gory camp-tragedy Repo: the Genetic Opera), that I refuse to dismiss simply on the grounds of their uniqueness, but everything weird about those two films is entirely intentional. One gets the feeling that this film’s weirdness is simply an accident borne of its ill-thought-out premise.