Top positive review
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This is a great film
on 4 August 2015
The word ‘cult’ was pretty much invented for ‘This is Spinal Tap.’ It’s hard to say who the target audience is, but it’s fair to say that whoever it is, it’s a ‘niche’ group. ‘Mockumentaries’ are commonplace these days in both film and TV, but back in 1984, they were a lot rarer. Here, we have a (fake) fly-on-the-wall documentary about Britain’s loudest rock band ‘Spinal Tap’ as they release a new album and try to tour America at the same time.
The best thing about the film is that it never openly makes fun of its subject matter. The band may be made up of self-absorbed, egotistical, long-haired idiots, but, the strange thing is, you actually care about them. They’re hardly the brightest bunch and their lack of intelligence does mean that we – the audience – do feel superior (and even sorry on some occasions) for them when things go wrong. And they frequently go wrong.
Spinal Tap may be Britain’s ‘loudest’ group, but their star is fading and the tour is not as ‘sell out’ as they’d like it to be. Sometimes it’s actually quite sad watching them as they desperately try to hang onto the life they were once used to.
Like I said at the beginning, it’s hard to know who the ‘target audience’ for This Is Spinal Tap’ really is. The comedy is more subtle than your average ‘laugh-a-minute-fest’ and you need to have an appreciation for both mockumentaries and also darker, black humour. Plus a love of heavy metal and/or rock music should help.
Many films don’t age well. At least this one has bad haircuts that were as bad at the time of filming as they are today!
Also, special mention to Michael Mckean, who puts on a great British accent like he’s a native.