I miss old parody movies. You know, movies that actually parodied their subject material instead of making cheap jabs and references.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a parody from the golden age from a golden director. Mel Brooks already solidified his comedic chops with Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs. And while I do think that those movies are more easily rewatched than this one, Men in Tights definitely deserves to stand alongside them.
If you know Robin Hood, which you should, then you know the story of this movie. Prince John is an asshole who took over while his brother Richard is away, so Robin and his merry men rebel. Its a truly timeless tale, one that’s been done numerous times over in numerous different movies.
Which makes it perfect for a parody.
This movie does a great job of mocking Robin Hood while still preserving what made the story so interesting and fun in the first place. Robin is still Robin, he’s just got a pension for sarcastic quips and way too lengthy speeches. Marian is thirsty as fuck. Prince John is a moron whose wart constantly moves around. The Sheriff has a verbal stutter. They’re simple changes, but these gags are executed well enough to give a man a chuckle.
I’m not a fan of the fourth-wall breaking gags, though. Some of them are okay, like the branded cans on the training dummies or the the jockeys riding camels. But then there are some that are very much of their time, like Achoo pumping his shoes or Latrine looking straight into the camera. Not to mention all the references; sorry, but those are rarely funny.
I do, however, love the ‘check the script’ gag. That one is a really fun twist on the classic archery contest. Plus, Cary Elwes sells it perfectly.
The visuals also leave something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, the practical effects and sets still look solid. But the cinematography is very flat and boring. A good 70% of this movie is just a perfectly still camera recording characters as they talk. While the dialogue is certainly entertaining, the actual visuals of the movie itself are pretty lacking.
The music, on the other hand, is pretty solid. Whether its just an orchestral background track or an actual song, which are very entertaining, the composer of this movie did a solid job. It’s nothing mind-boggling, but it’s a nice addition.
Overall, this is a decently entertaining comedy. Some of the jokes are definitely stronger than others and the visuals are very flat. But it still holds up thanks to the strong writing and excellent performances. If you need something fun to put on in the background, this movie is a solid choice.
That makes me wonder, though: are there any actually good Robin Hood movies? Aside from the animated one that made people into furries.