These Tights Don't Fit

Robin Hood: Men in Tights directed by Mel Brooks at Loews Fresh Pond

I remember when I first heard news that a third Robin Hood movie was coming out. Among the plethora of previews that delayed my viewing of "Last Action Hero" was one of "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." A cheap Errol Flynn imitation drew six arrows and shot them. Afterwards, a bunch of guys danced around in tights and a voice announced "coming to a theater near you." Immediately, I heard the dumb movie alert.

First impressions aren't always accurate, however--this movie was much, much worse than I thought it would be. Without a doubt, "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is the stupidest movie made, in my recent memory.

To begin with, it has a star-studded cast of Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, Roger Rees, Amy Yasbeck, and Tracey Ullman. If you have no idea who these people are, just remember that Richard Lewis and Tracey Ullman had their TV shows canceled, and you'll have a good idea as to the quality of the cast.

At least "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" could boast Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater, even though it had Kevin Costner's Southern Californian Robin Hood. I am willing to grant that Elwes's Robin Hood has a British accent, though.

"Men in Tights" starts out pretty much the same way "Prince of Thieves" started, in some dungeon in the Middle East. There Robin of Loxley (yes, it's "Loxley", not "Locksley"), played by Cary Elwes, meets Asneeze (Isaac Hayes) who saves Robin. They go through that "You have saved my life, so I owe you a favor" bit so that Ahchoo (Dave Chappelle), son of Asneeze, can get into the movie.

Get the joke? Asneeze and Ahchoo. It wasn't funny in the movie either.

This Robin of Loxley gets his castle towed away and thus must seek vengeance against Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees) and Prince John (Richard Lewis). In most movies, this would serve as a stupid interlude; for Mel Brooks, it is a crucial plot development.

Also, Robin has to rescue Maid Marian (Amy Yasbeck), who has a steel Everlast chastity belt which only the destined one can open. I hate to ruin the surprise, but the destined one is Robin Hood.

Along the way, Robin Hood meets up with Little John (Eric Allan Kramer) and Will Scarlet O'Hara (Matthew Porretta). He also has a blind sidekick Blinkin (Mark Blankfield). Basically, that's the whole plot.

Mel Brooks, as always, must show up, which is rather unfortunate because he is about as funny as lung cancer. He plays Rabbi Tuckman, a Friar Tuck stand-in who acts as master of circumcision with the slogan "Circumcision: Half-off". (Ouch!) His strong (only?) point is gratuitous penis humor, used so that the kids in the audience, who should be seeing "Snow White," would get a chuckle. Some people, such as Brooks, should not direct and act at the same time--nor, for that matter, should we let them do either separately.

The point of the movie? No one really knows, not even Mel Brooks. Basically, it attempts to achieve humor by making fun of homosexuals--a theme made quite evident by the title and the song "Men in Tights," which goes "We're men--we're men in tights...We may look like pansies/ But don't get us wrong or else we'll put out your lights."

In the summer of famous movie parodies such as "Hot Shots: Part Deux" and "Fatal Instincts" (coming out soon), one wonders why another is required. In fact, Charlie Sheen's chicken-arrow parody of the Robin Hood arrow scene was funnier. Because "Men in Tights" can only make fun of "Prince of Thieves," the storyline becomes dull and predictable and the viewers tend to wonder if Mel Brooks got his sense of humor from John Houseman.

Redeeming qualities do exist in this film, shocking as it may seem. Some famous, talented people have small parts. For the sake of their careers, they are lucky that they didn't have starring roles.

Dom DeLuise is absolutely hilarious as Don Giovanni, who is hired to kill Robin Hood. DeLuise does a great imitation of Marlon Brando's imitation of Brando's own Don Corleone. Think about that one for a while. Anyway, it's pretty funny. Dick Van Patten also tries to extend his career by doing a cameo as the Abbot. Haven't these guys heard of retirement and social security?

And remember when Sean Connery popped in at the end of the Kevin Costner movie? In "Men in Tights" someone famous also appears as King Richard. I don't want to give him away, but he looks exactly like Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Don't expect to see "Men in Tights" action figures, cereal boxes, or cartoon series. But don't be surprised to see it mentioned when it becomes a Final Jeopardy question, "Which summer movie in 1993 just plays outright sucks?"

In summary, don't waste your money on this bomb. If you really need to see a funny Robin Hood movie there's always that Warner Brothers cartoon with Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. At least that one has some genuine laughs.

Don't expect to see "Men in Tights" action figures, cereal boxes, or cartoon series.