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Chicago
2002 - PG-13 - 96 Mins.
Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Lucy Liu
Review by: John Ulmer
   
In the beginning of "Chicago," a young, wannabe singer shoots a man who promised her connections into the music business, but then revealed he has no connections whatsoever.

The young woman is Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger), who is shipped off to jail, where she is looked over by Mama Morton (Queen Latifah), who promises Roxie a good lawyer. For a price.

Roxie eventually gets the lawyer, Billy (Richard Gere), who claims he has never lost a case ever. In the meantime, a big-time singer named Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who shot her twin sister and husband when she caught them fooling around, rots away in jail, waiting to get her trial date from Billy (who is her lawyer, too). But the public soon turns their back to Velma, and focuses on the newcomer Roxie, who plays it innocent and cute. People are soon auctioning off her clothes, buying her haircuts (including Mama Morton), and publishing her face in every newspaper in Chicago.

"Chicago" is a very entertaining film. And I like some of the elements it throws in, such as the subtle hints at publicity and corruption. Such as when innocent Roxie finds herself being taken out of the public eye, and throws herself to the ground and says, "I just hope I didn't hurt the baby." Instantly the press comes back to her. Things like that are amusing, because it shows how the press can get to anyone, even a small-time wannabe singer who finally gets her fifteen minutes of fame and tries to turn it into twenty.

"Chicago" is, of course, based on the musical, which I can only guess originated in Chicago. Maybe I'm wrong. I know it plays in London still, but I don't see much about it in the US. But I am pretty sure that this film did the musical justice, because every dance number is relentlessly rehearsed, every voice can sing, and everyone can act. And out of everyone, Renee Zellweger, the fairly new actress on the spot, steals the show.

Compared to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who undeservedly won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role, Renee Zellweger is tremendous. When the two are on screen, I'm not looking at Zeta-Jones. I'm looking at Zellweger. And Renee had to learn to dance (and sing?) before filming started, as compared to Zeta-Jones who had experience before. And what is so funny is that Renee completely upstages her in acting, dancing, singing, everything. She has a lot of charisma in her role as Roxie Hart. And Renee also seems very innocent, much like her character.

"Chicago's" running time flies by before you know it. It isn't anything deep, psychological or extremely memorable, but it will entertain you throughout, and whether you are watching the dance numbers or the "regular" scenes, you will have a fun time watching. The glare of the showbiz spotlights shine from the screen, and if you look carefully, it might highlight some smiles in the audience.
 
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

 
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