It's hard to make a persuasive case for trying to duplicate the sunny perfection of the original MUSIC MAN (1962), especially when the results are so listless.
1908: Professor Harold Hill (Matthew Broderick) is a travelling charlatan in an age when footloose salesman rely on their good names for repeat business. He breezes into River City, Iowa, and convinces the locals that the festering delinquency of their children can be cured by getting them involved with a brass band. Hill promises shiny instruments and spiffy uniforms, winning over the Mayor's wife (Molly Shannon) and the impressionable citizenry, including sad, fatherless Winthrop Paroo (Cameron Monaghan), but his real plan is to blow town as soon as he collects his payments. Not everyone in River City is convinced: Winthrop's older sister, town librarian Marian (Kristin Chenoweth), knows you can't whip up a musical ensemble just by willing it. But the Mayor (Victor Garber) is too busy interfering in his daughter's love life to worry about Hill, so Marian launches her own campaign to trip up the music man. At the same time, she finds herself falling for the charming smoothie. Eventually, Hill's past catches up with him: Either his conscience will kick in or he’ll revert to form and crush the dreams of people he has come to like, and his affection for the Paroo family may be the deciding factor. His spectacular Broadway success in Mel Brooks' The Producers notwithstanding, Broderick is as zombie-like here as Robert Preston was vibrant in the 1962 film. Although the film features smart-looking period recreation and superb scoring, director Jeff Bleckner is clueless about how to frame Kathleen Marshall's choreography; Chenoweth sings like an angel but is costumed to look like a succession of walking wallpaper samples.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: It's hard to make a persuasive case for trying to duplicate the sunny perfection of the original MUSIC MAN (1962), especially when the results are so listless. 1908: Professor Harold Hill (Matthew Broderick) is a travelling charlatan in an age when footlo… (more)