RAH Humor Review:
Robin Hood - Men In Tights
by Dave Bealer
This review first appeared in the August 1993 issue of Random Access
Copyright © 1993 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.
Scene 1: (Whitehall, Pennsylvania - Summer 1974)
A pair of high school chess nerds go to the West End Drive-In Theater
to see The Thief Who Came to Dinner, which was supposed to have
chess woven into the plot. A powerful thunder storm keeps them from
seeing that film. Their disappointment was considerably reduced by
the fact that they had thoroughly enjoyed the second feature, which
was shown first as per the custom of the time and place. That second
feature was Blazing Saddles, the hilarious sendup of Western movies
by the incomparable Mel Brooks.
Scene 2: (Kansas City, Missouri - Summer 1987)
One of those chess nerds grew up to be a computer nerd and would-be
humorist. Thirteen years later I have yet to see the entire movie,
The Thief Who Came to Dinner, although I have seen the last few
minutes of it on television. Conversely, I have seen Blazing
Saddles dozens of times and enjoyed it immensely each time. The
good news is that I only suffered from an oxygen-deprivation headache
from laughing too hard that first time I saw it.
Oddly, Mel Brooks hit his peak in 1974, the year both his best films
(Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein) were released.
Although his films since then are well worth seeing (especially
History of the World - Part I), he never again achieved the
inspired lunacy of his two masterworks. Hope springs eternal, of course,
especially among the fans of great artists. We may know that our hero is
past his prime, but we keep supporting his new stuff anyway in the hope
that he may yet find a way to reach new heights.
So one hot Friday afternoon I ventured into the Crown Center Mall and
caught a matinee of Spaceballs. Why not? I can never sleep in the
afternoon before an overnight software install, especially while on
the road. Spaceballs was definitely not a new height for Mel Brooks.
In fact I was quite disappointed with the movie after that first screening.
The movie has since grown on me (like a tumor) despite the presence
of Rick Moranis, one of my least favorite comedy actors.
Scene 3: (Pasadena, Maryland - Summer 1993)
The would-be humorist is now a practicing amateur humorist with an
international (and completely demented) following. He decides it
would be interesting to provide a review of a comedy movie before the
movie closes in first-run theaters. Selecting the latest work by
his idol, Mel Brooks, our hero ventures into Marley Station Mall to
catch a matinee of Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
This movie is a parody of the Robin Hood movies, which are sort of a
genre all to themselves. The principal target is Kevin Costner's
recent rendition, which desperately wanted lampooning in any case.
The opening is great, and will be especially appreciated by anyone
who ever wanted to hear the phrase "Hey Nonny, Nonny" in a rap song.
Cary Elwes does a creditable job as Robin Hood, but his performance
is just a pale reflection of his work in The Princess Bride.
Elwes seems to do better with subtle humor, which is not a likely part
of a Mel Brooks movie.
Richard Lewis portrays a neurotic Prince John, typecasting if ever
there was such a thing. My first impression is that this guy does
not have a big future as an actor.
Mel Brooks is a scream as Rabbi Tuckman, purveyor of sacramental wine
and circumcisions. Dom DeLuise has a riotous cameo as Don Giovani,
the godfather associate of the Sheriff of Rottingham. Of the
newcomers in the cast, the most energetic is Dave Chappelle as
Ahchoo, Robin's Moorish companion and martial arts partner. Mark
Blankfield has a hilarious turn as Blinkin, Robin's blind servant.
If you want to know the identity of the world famous English actor
who takes the de rigueur cameo as King Richard, you'll just have to
go see the movie.
Blazing Saddles it isn't, but it sure beats Spaceballs.
Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who
works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the
largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront
townhome in Pasadena, MD. with a cat who annoys him endlessly as he
assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor.
Dave can be reached via e-mail at:
Experience: a name everyone gives to his mistakes.