TO BE OR NOT TO (1982)

Starts out decently enough, and surprisingly different for Mel Brooks to direct a remake: something that isn't a parody of a serious genre or a humorous take on historical events...

But then the set up, of a husband and wife who are famous stage performers in Poland who, when Hitler takes over, has to close up their theater, becomes an overlong skit involving Brooks and real-life wife Anne Bancroft, with the aid of a sad throwaway role by ANIMAL HOUSE star Tim Matheson as a love-struck soldier: The entire menagerie playing an elaborate scheme on the Nazis that gets way too complicated for it's own good in this remake of a Jack Benny 1940's vehicle (when ensemble comedies were the norm)... Not only do all the wires get tangled up within each other, there's way too many to begin with. And it's understandable turning the Nazis into complete buffoons, especially when spoofing them... but in doing so it takes away any valid threat, making it meaningless to have to trick or defeat them in the first place. Score: **1/2

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