Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, Amy Yasbeck, Roger Rees, Dave Chappelle

Marvelously funny even for those who didn't see the film it hilariously parodies—199l's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—this Mel Brooks comedy is one sprightly spoof.

Elwes plays Robin with an élan reminiscent of Errol Flynn, even while he is sending up the role. But Brooks, as usual directing, cowriting and co-starring, homes in most devastatingly on the Kevin Costlier variation. When comic Lewis, entertainingly playing Prince John as a neurotic lop, asks Robin why the peasantry will listen to him, Elwes draws himself up in full Costnerian righteous indignation and says, "Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent!" (And he can, too.) Similarly, inveterate scoundrel Rees, as a hyperactive Sheriff of Rottingham, gnashes his lines and mugs relentlessly, à la Thieves's Alan Rickman. Yasbeck, who plays Marian, looks like Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and acts with the same dependency on big-eyed stares and flowing curls. Brooks benches Friar Tuck, substituting himself as Rabbi Tuckman. And Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation sends up Sean Connery's Princely cameo as King Richard, even affecting a decently Conneryish burr.

Brooks and his sharp cowriters, Evan Chandler and J. David Shapiro, toss in haphazard gibes at such risible phenomena as mimes ("A mime is a terrible thing to waste"), the Atlanta Braves' Tomahawk Chop, the anti-car-theft device The Club (used here to secure a knight's horse) and circumcision (Rabbi Tuckman's specialty).

Other than using an obvious line based on confusion between "merry" and "gay" men, and displaying an obsession with penis jokes and a chastity-belt sequence, Brooks & Co. never lapse in taste or go for easy jokes.

There are plenty of movies around these days for those who like their entertainment bloody and sex-crazed, but anyone in a mood for a hearty laugh couldn't do better than this. (PG-13)"

  • Contributors:
  • Ralph Novak,
  • Tom Gliatto,
  • Leah Rozen.