It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is one of those crazy, classic movies you either love or hate. For me it was the movie I turned to whenever I needed cheering up. Our VHS copy of the celebrity filled chase movie was recorded off the Late Late Movie with Kenny Dodger, and whenever I watched it I usually stopped fast forwarding through the commercials long enough to let him make some inane comment before the movie kicked back in. Somehow it added to the lunatic ambiance of the whole thing.
In 2001, Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was remade into a clumsy comedy called Rat Race by Jerry Zucker. Instead of celebrities like Spencer Tracey, Milton Berle, Sid Ceasar, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman, Jonathan Winters, and the Three Stooges they had Breckin Meyer and Seth Green. Yeah, it was a big step down.
The only good thing about Rat Race is that it disappeared quickly, and with it any further tarnishing of 4x Mad World. Or so I thought. But it looks like Hollywood isn’t done going Mad. The Hollywood Reporter says that Stanley Kramer’s widow Karen Sharpe Kramer has teamed up with one of the producers of Bobby to make a sequel to Kramer’s 1963 movie. The follow up would follow the descendents of the original lunatics from the first movie as they’re improbably thrust into another madcap race for a pile of cash after they discover the money their parents unearthed was completely counterfeit.
While that sounds a little shaky, at least they’ve picked the right title. It’s being called It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, MAD World. As Kenny Dodger would say, that’s five mads folks!
The interesting thing in this is that they were actually planning the sequel long before Rat Race emerged. But Paramount got Rat Race moving sooner, completely crushing their chances to get an official Mad sequel up and running. Now that some time has passed, they feel there’s enough breathing room to start pushing 5x Mad again.
Right now there’s no director for the movie, and it’s being financed independently. Independent financing worries me, because if you’re making a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World sequel crazy celebrity cameos are essential. They’re going to need plenty of cash. To do it up right you need people like Chris Rock, Mike Meyers, Robin Williams, Will Ferrell, and Zach Braff in it. Dax Shepherd isn’t going to cut it. Jack Black as the son of Jonathan Winters’ truck driver character anyone? Come on, I can totally see it.