Once in a while, a movie slips under your radar. For about, oh, 20 years. In 'Big-screen blind spot,' we sit down with those 'classic' movies everybody but us has seen and give them the nostalgia critic treatment.
Confession: In middle school, my friend Kristine wanted to watch this movie at a slumber party at her house. I refused because I wasn't allowed to watch anything rated PG-13. I may have been a giant goody-two-shoes, but at least I avoided this terrible movie.
Had I seen it in 1993 at the age of 5: I wouldn't have understood a word. Had I watched it at Kristine's house a few years later, I probably would have liked it—I was a big fan of the Errol Flynn "Robin Hood" and the Disney version, and this has plenty of "Oh, I see what you did there" moments.
Now: Oof. Now I know how late-period Mel Brooks got such a bad reputation. Granted, there are a few great gags (16, to be specific--I counted), but the pacing is so slow that they barely register. The raps—yes, raps—that start and end the film are cringingly bad. In fact, throughout all the musical numbers, I felt that specific kind of vicarious embarrassment usually reserved for terrible childrens' movies and that video of Mitt Romney doing "Who Let The Dogs Out?" Dave Chappelle's character is named Ahchoo. An Israeli character is named Falafel. Really, guys?
Too bad, because it's got a great cast. Cary Elwes was born to play this role. His Robin Hood is basically just a wide-eyed, cracked-out version of Westley from "The Princess Bride." Richard Lewis plays Prince John, and doesn't even attempt a British accent, thank God. Dave Chappelle's talents are wasted, and the same goes for Isaac Hayes. But I would watch Patrick Stewart do just about anything, so at least there's that.
Must be noted: Most of the good jokes in this movie are lifted directly from "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles." Do yourself a favor and watch those instead.