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Overall Rating
4.22

Awesome56.52%
Worth A Look: 21.74%
Average: 13.04%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 4.35%

3 reviews, 51 user ratings


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This is Spinal Tap
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by Brian McKay

"It's such a fine line between stupid and clever . . ."
5 stars

The directorial debut from Rob Reiner spawned a life of its own. What started as a low-budget Rock and Roll "Mockumentary" grew into radio airplay, MTV videos, Television appearances, and even a subsequent (though inferior) album. It's a pop-culture phenomenon almost on a "Blair Witch" scale, and twenty years later, it's still funny as hell.

The film tells the story of fictional band "Spinal Tap" who are rapidly fading into has-been obscurity. After twenty years, numerous band member changes, and several musical mutations, they have "evolved" from a sixties Beatles-esque pop group, to an eighties spandex-wearing, crotch-stuffing glam metal band. Along for the ride is Marty Di Bergi (Reiner), a filmmaker who sets out to capture the "sights, sounds, and smells" of a Rock and Roll band on the road and instead captures every possible embarassing mishap on film.

The centerpieces are Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer), who, in addition to co-writing the film with Reiner, also wrote and performed the music. Surprisingly, these three have just enough talent as writers, actors, and musicians, to pull the whole thing off.

The thing that makes this film work is how subtle it is, how real it feels. Despite all the hilarious moments, it's easy to forget that Spinal Tap isn't a real band. It often looks and feels like the real deal, complete with manipulative girlfriends, in-band squabbles, clashing egos, and managerial hassles. And whenever one of the characters opens his mouth to pontificate on something, they capture the ignorant pretentiousness of the average rock star perfectly. How many times have we watched an interview of a rock star and thought "God, this guy is a fucking idiot!". "Spinal Tap" creates that moment again and again, each more hilarious than the last.

But there is enough seriousness injected into the film to keep it from becoming complete camp, hence its genius. This is particularly true of the special edition DVD which has approximately 70 minutes of previously cut footage in the special features section. It is all run together in one coherent montage, and it almost feels like watching a second Spinal Tap movie. Although the material is generally not quite as funny as that in the film, there are several interesting, even poignant moments where the characters are fleshed out a bit and seem even more real. In addition, the DVD has tons of other stuff, including a great commentary by the three principal actors, music videos, talk show appearances, promotional spots, etc.

Not only is it an instant classic, it's a hilariously scathing indictment of the rock and roll lifestyle, and all the egoism and shallow philosophising that goes along with it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1112&reviewer=258
originally posted: 08/13/01 22:08:15
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User Comments

2/09/12 stanley welles i have bumped my head before and found more humour, only fools would find this funny 1 stars
6/07/11 Silkworm Fucking Brilliant. If you watch this film use "Dobly" 5 stars
8/09/10 John Aster Habig The film that accidently changed rock music 4ever. The parodies outdid original subject. 5 stars
4/18/10 PAUL SHORTT MEDIOCRE ROCK SATIRE 2 stars
8/29/09 Julian A fantastic piss take - so funny 5 stars
7/20/08 michele the 2 foot high stonehenge scene had me on the floor 4 stars
5/20/08 matt if you don't like this, you can lick me love pump 5 stars
12/15/06 Allan Johnson One hell of a funny film 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist RockStar was a lame attemt at a rip-off of this legendary classic. 5 stars
7/11/06 Joseph P. Hughes Great Movie, drivin me out of my mind, How could you leave the DVD behind? 5 stars
1/11/06 tg great film 5 stars
8/12/05 Kelly wheres the stage?-you must listen to the commentary on the dvd its hilarious 4 stars
8/03/05 ALDO rock and roll through and through 5 stars
6/29/05 Burt Ward shitty band 1 stars
5/01/05 Indrid Cold Several memorable scenes, but not wall to wall hilarious. 4 stars
5/16/04 nigel Intelligent, clever comedy.... OHHH TONIGHT IM GONNA ROCK YOU...TONIGHT! 5 stars
4/05/04 Snickerdoodle And oh how they played, the little children of Stonehenge 4 stars
1/18/04 Littlepurch Very weird and a bit slow but also very funny. 4 stars
1/02/04 HorrorScribbler Amusing 4 stars
8/09/03 Will Green IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THIS MOVIE, YOU WILL DIE IN THE ASHES OF HELL AND BE TRAMPLED BY HITLER 5 stars
8/02/03 john This movie goes to 11 5 stars
8/02/03 DM Hilarious- Stonehenge scene still has me laughing 5 stars
6/25/03 michelle Utter garbage 1 stars
6/19/03 John Aster Habig It seems to be made as a Behind The Music spoof 5 stars
1/07/03 Vince "Maybe we could just change the choreography and keep the dwarves clear.." 5 stars
10/31/02 Steven Excellent Movie 5 stars
10/08/02 King Richard I'm still laughing from this movie 5 stars
7/04/02 KMG I GIVE THIS MOVIE AN 11 OUT OF TEN! 5 stars
1/22/02 Derek Smalls "It's like they can talk, but they can't swear." Very funny parody!! 5 stars
12/05/01 Skip Young One of the best comedies. A masterpiece. 5 stars
11/23/01 Andrew Carden Badly Done and Scripted Movie With Barely Any Momentum. 2 stars
7/05/01 Matthew Bartley LAUGHED CONSTANTLY 5 stars
3/15/01 Rael Perhaps the funniest film ever made. 5 stars
1/27/01 Soggy Bottom Boy My favorite alltime comedy, seeing this before one of my college finals was the ruin of me! 5 stars
1/18/01 Bub Perhaps if I saw it before Waiting for Guffman and Best In Show I would've liked it. 2 stars
12/21/00 fifu weird and funny i would give it a 3 and a 1/2 3 stars
12/09/00 Viking The funniest rock movie ever !!! 5 stars
10/22/00 YOUR Movie Expert Great Movie and DVD. The plot is...ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/09/00 Mickey E. Suttle Kicks Ass. The DVD is awsome with all the deleted/extra scenes and the audio commentary is! 5 stars
8/26/00 Frank Carr Great parody, but works best if you're a rock musician or been around them 5 stars
7/11/00 David Inglis The only film I've watched more than 3 times (and it still creases me) 5 stars
1/15/00 Mic Quite funny in parts, rarely hilarious, often slow. 3 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Not as funny as I expected but the ultimate mockumentary, next to "Forgotten Silver." 4 stars
2/11/99 Vick Di Brecci Shit sandwich. 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink The scene with the midgets dancing on stage cracks me up even when I just think about it! 5 stars
11/24/98 DrEvil Brilliantly skewers both rock stars and films about them. Funny as hell. 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules When I was in a highschool band I loved it. Now it seems a little less great... 4 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob An excellent example of spontaneous creativity! 5 stars
10/11/98 J-Guy being a musician, I am one of those people that is obsessed with this movie. it is rad. 5 stars
10/11/98 Johny "This one goes to eleven" 4 stars
10/10/98 {{{OZ}}} I never really saw why so many people are obsessed with this film. Funny, but boring mostly 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Feb-1984 (R)
  DVD: 14-Aug-2008

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Jul-1984 (M)




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