Very rarely do Comedies find their way into my viewing cache here at Blood Brothers. Too many of them are watered down for mass consumption and few of them make it into cult circles for me to truly take much interest in them. That is unless it's a Mel Brooks film. Which is the reason you are reading the review for "Robin Hood: Men In Tights", Brooks' ever comical spoof on "Robin Hood: Price Of Thieves" and various other previous versions of the legend. This film is cartoonish, simple, somewhat loose on its morals, and completely hilarious. Is it to be taken seriously? Absolutely not. But it should be taken under doctor supervision.
Robin Hood (Elwes) escapes from a prison in Jerusalem only to find that his entire family is dead and his land and castle taken for back taxes by the shameless Prince John (Lewis). Thusly Robin decides to build a group of merry men ("No, no. We're straight. Just... merry.") to thwart John and his evil Sheriff of Rottingham (Rees) and win the heart of his beloved Maid Marian (Yasbeck). Its going to take a lot of charm, swordplay, and a few eggs of tights to get the job done but Robin is up for the job. Perhaps too up.
Firstly, this is most definitely a Mel Brooks film. Its completely out of whack with its combination of puns, boob jokes, awkward moments, random song and dance routines, and, in true Brooks fashion, plenty of 4th wall breaking. Now if any of this sounds childish to you...it is. So if you can't take it, then this film will make you look around at the people laughing at it and think, "how can they laugh, it's so stupid! So what if her name was shithouse?" In all honestly, it is childish but its so forgivable for its off the wall jokes and random references. Every time you watch it you'll probably catch something new and that means a lot for a comedy.
Half of the this film's awesomeness can be dedicated to its oddball writing. The other half is dedicated to its actors and their brilliant comedic timing (with a little help from Brooks as a director). Elwes is the perfect Robin Hood in his own smirk driven over the top manner (the smirk rarely leaves his face in this film) and his supporting cast is only just as cleverly cast and portrayed. Special props have to be given to Blinkin (played by Blankfield) for his endless parade of physical and verbal jokes concerning his blindness that never cease to be funny.
"Robin Hood: Men In Tights" is a hilarious return to form for Brooks, as he was quickly fading from comedy greatness, and a true comedy that really stands the test of time. If you haven't seen "Prince Of Thieves" you may miss some of the jokes ("Because, unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.") but its not a huge portion of the film sans some of its structuring and occasional jab. It's a great comedy that never ceases to be funny. Warning though, either you get it or you don't with Mel Brooks.
Written By Matt Reifschneider