Sheer Gaul!

Moulin Rouge thrusts forth a deliciously garish Paris

It's a shame that the slaves of Hollywood can't convince their masters to let them have fun like this a bit more often. We can only hope that the pitch "Cabaret for the Starbucks generation" doesn't clear the first lackey in development, but really, what's wrong with mixing it up like this? For instance, sporting Lyle Lovett's scalp and Dali's mustache, Broadbent arrives here with the authority of having played W.S. Gilbert to Allan Corduner's Arthur Sullivan in Topsy-Turvy (a film with similar theatrical themes). Soon enough, however, he's busting moves to Madonna's "Like a Virgin," and the chortles he summons feel amazing.

Kidman and McGregor also carry their roles and songs with heightened grace, she offering her audience options ranging from "wilting flower, bright and bubbly or smoldering temptress," before crumbling from all her pretending and he reminding us how satisfying it is when a man sings a song instead of retching it. Their chemistry is admittedly weird, but the characters' impossible passion feels undeniably real, so much so that when the Duke commands his foot soldier to "Kill the boy," it is, metaphorically, the best thing anyone could hope for.

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