Promises, Promises More Problems, Problems

Miscast and old-fashioned, revival falls flat
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2010 1:08 PM CDT

Back when it debuted in the late '60s, Promises, Promises was a critical darling. These days... not so much. Here's what the critics are saying:

  • “Problems, like promises, abound,” writes John Simon of Bloomberg. Chief among them: “Musical comedy has evolved well beyond these cookie-cutter songs, however cute.” Kristin Chenoweth is also badly miscast as a sweet, innocent menial; she “oozes star glamor.”

  • “This revival appears timed to cash in on the current "Mad Men"-fueled fascination with the naughty 1960s workplace,” observes Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune, but Neil Simon's book contains no social commentary to soften the sexism.
  • Indeed, choreographer/director Rob Ashland “seems to regard the members of both sexes with faint distaste. Even when they cut loose they don't seem to be having any fun,” writes Ben Brantley of the New York Times. Sean Hayes' “emotions often seem pale to the point of colorlessness.”
  • But Frank Scheck of the Hollywood Reporter generally liked it. “Some of the jokes can be hoary,” he allows, but “the evening is filled with genuine belly laughs,” and a decent amount of emotion to boot.
(More theater reviews stories.)

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