Mel Brooks wowed 42nd Street with his musical debut The Producers, but follow-up Young Frankenstein fell flat at last night's opening, says Time's Richard Zoglin. Without Brooks' freshman hit, Young Frank might be “reasonably entertaining”; instead it demands comparison and ends up mere “shtick." Its brilliant film source is “a series of goofs,” lacking The Producers' strong storyline, Zoglin says.
Other critics are piling on. The New York Times' Ben Brantley says the show steals its predecessor’s best goodies and “saps them of their joy by overselling them." The Post’s Peter Marks also slams this monster’s moves—“a teeter-tottering patchwork of slipshod gags, recycled dance routines and tinny tunes”—but admits it’s no bore. “It's Mel Brooks, for goodness' sake, so of course you laugh.”