Two showgirls accused of murder, become clients of the same hot-shot defence lawyer while incarcerated in a women's prison.
In Chicago in the Roaring Twenties, Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger), shoots her furniture salesman lover when he reneges on helping her break into showbiz. She winds up in a women's prison run by Big Momma (Queen Latifah), and it's here that she meets another accused killer, Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a showgirl who killed her lover and her sister when she found them together. Both women hire lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), who has a reputation for being the best there is.
This is a superb adaptation of the musical which was adapted from a play filmed twice before, most famously in 1942 as Roxie Hart, with Ginger Rogers as Roxie. Choreographer and director Rob Marshall, obviously inspired by the original stage choreography by Bob Fosse, does a remarkable job for his first feature. The songs are great and are beautifully integrated into the drama - this is a real return to the vintage musical film. None of the lead actors are known for their song and dance talents, but all rise to the occasion. Renee Zellweger is a wonderfully brassy Roxie, Catherine Zeta-Jones is a very slinky Velma, and, in perhaps the most satisfying surprise, Richard Gere socks over his numbers as Billy and does a terrific tap solo. Bawdy, funny and exhilarating, Chicago is great entertainment.