starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Johnny Depp
screenplay by James Lapine, based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
directed by Rob Marshall
by Walter Chaw Into the Woods looks exactly like what a legendary Sondheim production would look like were it adapted by that idiot who made Memoirs of a Geisha into a Vegas drag space-opera dragged through a scrim of horrific Occidental Orientalism. (Well, at least to the extent that Memoirs wasn't that already.) It's gaudy in every pejorative connotation of the word, packed to the rafters with distracting, stupid, show-offy clutter of the sort that people accumulate when they fear they don't have substance without it. I rather liked Marshall's adaptation of Chicago, strangely enough, which speaks more to the un-fuck-up-ability of Kander, Ebb, and Fosse than it does to any latent modesty in director Marshall. Call it beginner's luck, perhaps, of the kind that has long since dissolved. Marshall has already exceeded all expectations for bloated suck by somehow making the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise more difficult to endure than it had been by the third film. I'd challenge that you could swap Into the Woods out for a print of The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and no one would even frickin' notice. It's this year's Les Misérables.