By Noah Beaver
2002’s Chicago is, in my opinion, a perfect example of what a musical should be, most notably on the screen. It has songs that are not only butter to the ears, but they each have a point. Too many times have I seen musicals with songs that are there usually because it pre-existed a few years ago and Hollywood wants to capture the young demographic. But the biggest problem I usually see, is celebrities. Unfortunately, Hollywood always wants recognizable names on their movies, and that includes movie musicals. The problem with that is, the celebrities hired either do a terrible or mediocre job singing because of a lack of experience, Hollywood doesn’t understand that acting and singing are two different talents. Though Chicago does star celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, and John C. Riely, each of them does a great job with their musical chops. But enough of me crowing, what’s the story?
It’s 1924. We’re in a certain city, but I can’t remember which one. Anyway, our main lead, Roxie Hart, sees star Velma Kelly perform the song “All That Jazz” at a local theater. Wanting to have the spotlight, she has an affair with Fred Casely, who claims to know the manager. Afterwards, Fred reveals he just wanted her body. Enraged, Roxie shoots him dead. Simultaneously, Velma gets arrested for murder for her husband Charlie, and sister Veronica, who were in bed together. Both wind up in prison, but with Chicago’s best lawyer Billy Flynn, they both have a chance of walking free. Can Roxie and Velma manipulate the press and walk free? Or will they rot in lady prison, or worse, get the death penalty?
As far as I can tell, the costumes resemble what was worn in 20’s Chicago, as do the sets. The actors have the old timey accents nailed down, and each character has their own charm. Though there’s plenty of singing, not even the forgettable songs are bad, nor out of place. Song or acting, it’s fun to watch, I can’t think of a single part of the movie where I was bored. Whether you’re a musical fan, or a newbie, watching will surely give you a razzle-dazzle time.