Er. That didn't come out quite right, and anyway I don't want to talk about the play, which is a lot of fun and definitely worth reading or watching (the Branagh version is lovely though oddly cut in a few places, the Olivier version is laughable for all the wrong reasons and the sound is wonky). I want to talk about the production and why it didn't work, which does relate to the structure of the play somewhat, in that sticking half the characters in military fatigues and the other half in an assortment of Persian & hillbilly costumes just makes things confusing, not relevant, and it doesn't make any difference how funny the jokes are if the speeches get reeled off so quickly that the audience can't follow what's being said or why we should care. Some of Shakespeare's plays have a strong enough central plot to hold together bizarre production designs, but this ain't one of 'em, especially when not all the actors seem to be following the same set of directions.
Of course, not even a a slick production can save a paper-thin story that's populated with characters cut out of cardboard, such as in Surrogates, which looks, sounds, and plays out like a generic vaguely-futuristic, vaguely-dystopic movie. Seriously. The music is generic, the photography is generic, the main character is a generic maverick cop with a generic dead kid and a generic messed-up marriage. The whole thing is supposedly
Really, the only even vaguely interesting bits were where they made an obvious effort to remind us that everyone we see (aside from the generic maverick cop, once his surrogate gets busted up) is actually a machine. But even those bits don't hold up to scrutiny, so the whole thing was just a big, fat disappointment, really. After it was over, I found myself wishing I'd spent the time rewatching I, Robot, which, despite its flaws, has engaging characters, some fairly witty banter, and an actual attempt at a plot. Seriously, the robot in that movie was about a billion times more compelling than all the characters in Surrogates put together.