Mix theoretical physics, rock’n’roll, neurosurgery, Orson Welles and Rastafarian aliens from another dimension and you get this goofily eccentric genre-bending science-fiction action comedy. This is definitely one of those “love-it-or-hate-it” movies that you recommend to friends with caution. After watching this, they will either thank you profusely or recommend you for civil commitment.
To Be or Not to Be is sort of an odd duck among Mel Brooks films. Aside from voice-over work and TV guest shots, it’s about his only major role in a film he didn’t write or direct. While long on slapstick, it’s the closest thing to serious that Brooks has been at any point of his career, dealing with the Nazi occupation of Poland and the Holocaust, however obliquely. It also has the most cohesive storyline of any Brooks film since Young Frankenstein.