Movie Review: Chicago (2002)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2002 musical starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger.

Synopsis: In 1924, housewife Roxie Hart begins an affair with a furniture salesman believing he has a friend who can help her achieve her dream of being in show business. When she finds out he has been lying to her, she shoots him with her husband's gun and ends up being arrested and faces the death penalty for murder. Her only hope is the fast-talking lawyer her still-loyal husband hires to defend her.

Review

This film was on one of our movie channels a few nights ago and my wife and I ended up watching it while waiting for the kids to get ready for bed. We had seen this movie once before (not that long after it first came out) and already had plans to watch another movie. However, we both were intrigued enough by it to record it and finally got around to watching the entire film last night. As it turns out, we weren't disappointed.

As was the case the first time I saw this movie, I thought it was somewhat bizarre, mostly because the majority of the song and dance numbers are products of Roxie's (Zellweger) imagination. But, at the same time, I once again thought it was a surprisingly entertaining film.

Even though I'm not much of a Richard Gere fan, I think he is a large part of the reason this film is fun to watch. His smooth-talking Billy Flynn character kept the film from becoming predictable because you never really knew what was going to happen next with him. Was he going to successfully defend Roxie? Would he dump her in favor of a more desirable client? Would there be some sort of romantic entanglement? Or, would he simply disappear with her husband's (Reilly) money?

Roxie's relationship with her main rival, Velma (Zeta-Jones), also kept things interesting, especially since they were both represented by Flynn and were constantly trying to one-up or sabotage each other for his attention. And, the main wild card,  jail matron, Mama (Latifah), was one of those characters who had the potential to change things in any direction simply because of the influence she wielded.

Of course, a musical just isn't any good if the music isn't memorable and that was definitely not a problem with this film. The songs are actually very catchy and some of them are still stuck in my head more than a day after watching it. I don't buy many movie soundtracks. But, this is one I would make an exception for.

Final Opinion

This is a fun musical with some great performances and an entertaining plot that wasn't as predictable as so many other films in this genre. If you have not seen this film, I recommend it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 03/01/2017, StevenHelmer
 
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