I grew up watching Musicals. Singing in The Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and My Fair Lady were regular viewing fare. There were plenty of bad musicals as well. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Little Prince didn’t quite measure up for me. The last Musical that I really loved with Julia Andrew’s Victor/Victoria, and it was more of a modern twist on the musical, since all of it’s songs were preformed on a stange, as opposed to everyone just breaking into song for no reason.
La La Land opens with a song and dance number on one of L.A. infamous freeways during a traffic jam. It’s not an esspecially great song and the dancing is not exactly inspired, but it does tell us where this picture is going. An old fashioned Musical with over the top acting and a love story at it’s heart.
La La Land is chock full of cliches, but that’s not a bad thing. A movie that wants to remind us of the good old days needs a fair share of tired old plot devices like Boy Meets Girl, Rags to Riches, and You Can’t Always Get What You Want. In the end it all worked, even though I would have gone ahead and written the happy ending.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are fun to watch, but they are not exactly Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Of course, no one is these days. There was a fun bit in the middle of the film where John Legend tells Ryan that it’s people like him who are killing Jazz, because he can’t give up his love of the greats of the past. It’s easy enough to see that this is a new musical that is not meant to be a classic MGM Musical, but something a little bit different.
I liked La La Land a lot. The music was good, if a bit repetative by the time the credits roll. The singing was not great, but it was good enough. The dancing was often pretty bad and only served to remind me of the great scenes that clearly inspired many of the numbers. Still, it was a good effort.
La La Land is well worth watching.