Garage Days (Alex Proyas, 2002)
There is something deeply, desperately wrong with a movie's marketing when the very tag line seen on posters around the world gives away the film's major plot twist. That doesn't stop this from being an amusing little film, however. It involves an Australian garage rock band fronted by Freddy (Spartan's Kick Gurry) who are trying to find a place to play. Freddy's girlfriend Tanya (Queen of the Damned's Pia Miranda) plays bass. Guitarist Joe (Brett Stiller) is predictably moody, and is in tenuous ground with girlfriend Kate (XX/XY's Maya Stange). Manager Bruno (Russell Dykstra, from the BlackJack franchise) is something of a lovable foulup who seems congenitally incapable of getting the band gigs, but a chance encounter at a bar between Freddy and the manager of Sprimp, Australia's hottest act, gives the band hope. Meanwhile, with the various relationships on the rocks, Freddy finds himself more and more attracted to Kate; will internal pressures kill the band off before they can even make it to their first gig?
As much as I hate to say it, the weak link in this chain is director Alex Proyas. When Proyas is in his element, I have endless respect for the man; The Crow and Dark City are well on their way to becoming bona fide classics, and he even managed to make something halfway watchable out of I, Robot. The common thread, of course, is that all of these films are dark, moody pieces punctuated with frenetic action scenes. Garage Days, on the other hand, is a light comedy piece. Not the kind of thing one would expect from a guy who normally does dark fantasy action pictures, and it shows. Imagine if David Fincher tried to do a remake of, say, Sunday in the Park with George. The general raucousness of the film feels forced at times, artificially subdued at others. The upside to it, though, is that the comedy tends to be more understated than one would expect from a movie of this type, which leads to some subtle (and some disturbing) gags that might have otherwise come off as silly and/or tasteless.
It could have been a better film, to be sure, but it's not a bad one as it stands. Worth checking out, at least. ** ½