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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Chicago

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Director: Rob Marshall
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 113 Minutes
Release Date: January 2003
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music

Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

There's more razzle-dazzle in "Chicago" than I've seen in years. Directed by Rob Marshall and adapted by screenwriter Bob Condon from the hit Broadway show by John Kander/Fred Ebb/Bob Fosse, this hip musical sparkles and sizzles, opening with sultry Catherine Zeta-Jones strutting "All That Jazz." Can she sing? You bet. So can Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere. Set in the 1929 moral meltdown of the Windy City, this cynical story revolves around two murderesses, Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Zellweger), in Cook County jail awaiting trial. Velma's a big vaudeville star while Roxie's a goofy, dreamy, ambitious wannabe. They loathe each other as they compete for the attention of their slick, shrewd lawyer, Billy Flynn (Gere). As Roxie's hapless husband (John C. Reilly) hovers in the background, their rivalry is encouraged by the conniving prison matron (Queen Latifah). But what was straightforward on the stage becomes a surreal kaleidoscope of reality and fantasy as Roxie's imagination blends the sleazy spotlight of notoriety with celebrity - not unlike contemporary headline-hogging murder trials. By using that innovative device, Rob Marshall is able to transcend the limits of the stage production, deepen its emotional power and clarify its intention. There's an ingenious number in which Zellweger sits on Gere's lap, like a ventriloquist's dummy, while he talks to the press. Then Gere gingerly tap-dances as he cleverly bamboozles the jury. Even Chita Rivera from the original cast does a cameo. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Chicago" is a spectacular, thrilling 10. Not only is it one of the 10 BEST of the year but the participants should be top contenders for Oscar gold. Rarely has a Broadway show been transferred to the screen as inventively and successfully.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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