Rent | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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I wasn't encouraged to learn that this screen adaptation of Jonathan Larson's long-running Broadway musical was directed by big-screen funster Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, the first two Harry Potter movies). But aside from a few overblown production numbers, Columbus respects the show's smaller scale, and the property itself is a knockout, with great tunes and engaging portraits of East Village bohemians in the AIDS-ravaged late 80s. The choral numbers that punctuate the story are nicely realized, and the overpumped rock numbers are fondly reminiscent of dopey early-70s musicals like Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar. Most of the original cast members have been reunited--Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal--and they're a talented bunch. PG-13, 128 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Chatham 14, Crown Village 18, Davis, Gardens 7-13, Golf Glen, Lake, Lawndale, Lincoln Village, Norridge, Pipers Alley, 62nd & Western, Village North. Not all theaters had reported their schedules at press time due to the holiday; please check for updates.

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