Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Boat that Rocked

Its not often I will see a comedy in the cinema, in fact the biggest laughs from me in the cinema usually come from movies that are unintentionally funny.  The last time I honestly saw a laugh out loud comedy (twice) in the cinema was Hot Fuzz and it is important to note that it was British.  The last few comedies I have the displeasure of watching in the cinema were The Accidental Husband and I honestly think I died a little inside after those long ninety minutes and Pineapple Express, a movie that would have been so much better if the Pegg/Frost/Wright team had thought of it first.  Key point - they are British and they made Hot Fuzz.

I don’t know what it is with American comedies - I don’t get the Superbad/Knocked up humour that is constantly topping the box office.  The Frat Pack are now old and embarrassing (Ben Stiller hasn’t made a decent movie in years!!) and the Uma Thurman/Jennifer Aniston school of comedy was never funny to begin with.  

Maybe its just that I don’t get America humour any more.  I cant watch Friends.  I have never watched Ugly Betty and I have even lost interest in Family Guy.  The only America comedy show that I will watch and laugh out aloud to is South Park, a show that does parody, satirical humour and down right silliness to brilliant extremes.  Maybe that says more about me.  Maybe I am stuck in the past with my love of Pythonesque humour and bitterness as in the wonderful world of Black Books. Maybe my comedy taste hasn’t moved on to the strange world of gross out and dorky teens having awkward sexual encounters with baked goods or themselves and don’t get me started on Juno and you know what?
Thank Fuck for that.

The Boat That Rocked is British and I for that I am grateful.  If it were an American comedy it would have been set on the crystal clear waters of Miami with beautiful skinny girls lying on beaches and surfers surfing whilst looking like they were at an Adonis convention, but no The Boat That Rocked is full of unattractive misfits (Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Philip Seymour Hoffman et al) , each one with their unique personality, radio broadcaster style, and all containing a passion for music.

The movie takes place in the late 60’s where pirate radio was at its peak and the biggest pirate radio station of them all is Radio Rock, which is situated on the North Sea on an old rusty boat.

The plot was admittedly paper thin.  Pirate Radio station pushes boundaries and annoys Parliament.  Parliament tries to abolish pirate radio station.  Pirate Radio station rebels.   There was also a “who’s the daddy?” sub-plot thrown in.  It wasn’t the strongest of plots but I didn’t care.  The characters were all so likeable and the big bad British Parliament so over their top in the evilness you did become emotionally invested.   

You are invested to such a high degree that when the final act comes, which made the last 30mins of Titanic seems like a trip out in a riverboat, it was really hard to watch.  Not only are you involved with the characters on the boat, you also realise that you are totally in love with the Boat itself - it became like the Serenity for the sea.

The soundtrack was awesome and although there were quite a lot of montage scenes I didn’t mind as they were always fun - most notably the stag scene to Lazy Sunday Afternoon by Toy Dolls and a fabulously touching underwater scene to Father and Son by Cat Stevens.  

There are a few key scenes to look out for - the Spartacus scene were they all decide one by one to stand up to the law, Simon's Dusty Springfield scene and the entire final act.  

Some people will not like it.  Some people will complain about the perhaps to simple plot but I say embrace it.  Enjoy the enjoy the silliness, enjoy the music and just roll with it.

9/10.  It loses the point for having Duffy sing over the end credits - the sound track was so impressive and original only to lose it at the very last second.


  1. I really liked this one. Did you know that Rhys Darby was a Kiwi? He recently starred in an NZ made movie called Love Birds ( reviwed sevral months ago! ). I didn't realise he was a NZ'er until last year when he started to appear on tele advertising a new cell-phone network. I believe he is currently working on another movie overseas somewhere but unsure where.
    I like this because it is so English. It is so refreshingly different from the Yanky way of film making. Not only that but the sense of humour is so much better. American comedies don't do it for me...especiallythose of that so and so Vince Vaughn, who I detest with a real vengence.
    For me personally I still identify with NZ's U.K heritage even though we aren't a 'colony' anymore.I also much prefer English literature over American. It's not anti-yankee sentiment as much as being brought up very much in touch with the Irish side of my families history.

  2. I agree with you - my sense of humour is very British and my comedy viewing tend to stick to British comedies rather than broad American comedies.

    I did go through a Vince Vaughn Frat Pack phase but I quickly grew out of it and it is considered a black mark on my movie watching history.

    The only recent American comedy I could say I loved would be Easy A. Zombieland was good too but it was saved by the zombies.

    Glad to see that you are in touch with your Irish side :-)

  3. Ha ha ha..I almost had no choice!! My grandfather had second generation parents from Ireland. He of course didn't have the accent but he spoke in limericks like the Irish and he could do the most difficult crosswords imaginable. For some reason the Irish have a command of language and words like no-one else. It has rubbed off on me but I can't do crosswords!!

  4. must be why I like blogging and my mother is excellent at crosswords lol!