I was only twelve years old when I saw this movie in the theaters. I could not stop laughing during the entire movie! Everyone in the theater (sadly it wasn't packed) burst out laughing at what seemed like every single line. Although the play within the movie is a sex farce, other than Nicolette Sheridan running around in her underwear, this movie is still appropriate for the whole family. Parents need not worry about covering their childrens' eyes or ears.
The entire cast was picture perfect in their comedic timing. The visual sequences backstage were stunning in their crispness, all the while making the audience have fits of laughter. I laughed so hard I cried, and this was when I was only twelve. Michael Caine is great as a hard-nosed director. Nobody does physical comedy like John Ritter. Carol Burnett's expressions in the movie are just priceless. And, this is one of the last movies Christopher Reeve made before his riding accident that left him paralyzed. I never knew he could do comedy, having grown up on the Superman movies, but seeing him as a bumbling idiot cracked me up. And kudos to the rest of the cast for a delightful comedy!
Having been involved in several productions in high school, Noises Off hits even closer to home, as the backstage shenanigans, though not as brutal, DO happen quite often, for those of you who've never done theater. I loved watching the movie again after I finished high school and had the experience of having performed on stage. Now there were experiences I could relate to, like two actors hating each other, love triangles (or even quadrilaterals!), and missing props. Backstage during a play can be one of the most hectic places in the world! And the cast superbly brings out the sheer insanity of it, to the delight of the audience.
Looking at the last 10 years, to be cliche, they just don't make movies like this anymore. Now the trend seems to be toilet humor like There's Something About Mary, South Park, and any Jim Carrey movie. Don't get me wrong, I loved the two movies mentioned above and laughed my butt off, but I laughed because of the toilet humor and the raunchiness. And this comedy made me laugh more than I ever have for any movie, bar none. It is all the more refreshing to see a comedy where toilet humor is not needed to leave the audience in stitches. A little sex humor, yes, but it is on the mild side, tame enough even for little kids. It is not about "let's see, what can we put in the movie to REALLY gross out the audience?"
So, go rent this movie today! It is worth however much it costs! If you have never done theater in your life, you will find it a nonstop comedy of errors. If you have done/are doing theater, you will love this movie on another level. Watch it by yourself; watch it with others. It really doesn't matter, but most likely you'll want to share this movie with your family, your friends, your loved ones, etc.