All That Jazz: Special Music Edition Bob Fosse

It’s every tough guy’s movie night dilemma: "Oh god, it’s her turn to pick the movie. Oh no, no, not a musical! God, do not let her choose a musical. I’ll volunteer at the food bank first thing tomorrow.” Easy, tiger, All That Jazz is not The Sound of Music. Meet Joe Gideon, he’s a pill popping, booze swilling, chain-smoking, womanising hard ass… choreographer. For him, chorus lines are all you can eat buffets that he blows through almost as insatiably as amphetamines and Alka-Seltzer. He smokes, fucks and works and works and works yet somehow he seems removed from it all. Joe Gideon is Bob Fosse. Yeah, it’s thinly veiled (as thin as O,J,’s alibi) but this is Bob Fosse writing, directing and choreographing his own life, warts and all. Gideon (Roy Scheider channelling Fosse) is in the middle of editing a film (based on Fosse’s Lenny) while launching a Broadway musical (an amalgam of Chicago and Pippin) all while juggling his ex-wife and daughter (Gwen and Nicole in real life), his main lady friend (Anne Reinking basically playing herself, which is kind of weird) and a stream of gals who briefly warm his bed, and it’s taking its toll. Through all of this, in a series of hallucinatory conversations with an angelic Jessica Lange (who was also romantically linked to Fosse), Gideon wrestles with his mortality and looks back over his life and his sometimes selfish, hurtful choices. It’s a surprisingly dark story to be told as a musical but being Fosse’s story, there’s no other way it could be told. The musical numbers aren’t set pieces pasted into the story, they move the plot forward and give us insights into relationships between the characters. Sure, the musical’s made a comeback of late but there isn’t going to be another All That Jazz anytime soon. Ballsy, experimental, dark and exuberant, it’s self-indulgent, ambitious and brilliantly inspired. It’s also probably a career high point for both Fosse and Scheider. (Fox)