And All That Jazz
Review by Ross Anthony

Here's a review of the film from a guy who hasn't seen the stage play -- ahm, that's me :).

It's quite fun. The most peculiar and interesting thing about this film is its ability to play a tongue-in-cheek flavor from beginning to finish. Oddly, playfully cynical.

Take a story about a prison block of men-killers, and turn it into a ragtime musical and you're bound to entertain with many a politically incorrect joke. Btw, I'm not talking figuratively -- each of these women killed themselves a man to earn their right of prison.

Add into the mix an aging stage singer/dancer vs. young cocky blonde clawing for the spotlight and you've got plenty of competitive fodder for the flame.

Zellweger is absolutely perfect as Roxie, the cute blonde, heartless, yet somehow able to win our sympathies. Zeta Jones is strong as the tough star, with a robust voice and mighty dance moves. And while the surprise Gere doesn't quite shine in the song/dance department; it's fun to see him doin' it fair to midland. In fact, he does razzle-dazzle 'em in his lawyer for hire roll. And John C. Reilly is incredible as the doormat husband -- he's always incredible (Loved him in "Magnolia").

The director deserves praise for his inter-cutting of the earlier Roxie sex scene with Velma's stage routine and then later of the courtroom drama with a silhouette tap-dance. In fact, the entire piece is well paced, but sports less musical numbers than I'd expected. I've been told 5 were cut from the original.

An interesting mix of Hollywood and Broadway with an almost cartoony edge.

Oh, and the dummy bit it awesome.

Btw, the film credits claim Jones, Gere, Zellweger all sing and dance their own stuff. And I beleive that ... all except for Zellweger's voicing. Not that it's a bad thing, I just need more convincing.

Roxie whines, "You treat me like a common criminal."
Her high-priced lawyer enlightens, "You are a common criminal."

  • Chicago. Copyright © 2002.
  • Starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, Christine Baranski.
  • Directed by Rob Marshall.
  • Screenplay by Bill Condon.
  • Based on the stage play by Watkins, lyrics and melodies by Kander & Ebb.
  • Produced by Martin Richardsat Zadan/Meron/Miramax/Producer Circle.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:16:37 PDT