Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts
Starring: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban
Director: Christopher Guest
The team behind THIS IS SPINAL TAP re-unite for more hilarious adventures, this time spoofing the folk music world. If you liked SPINAL TAP or BEST IN SHOW, you’ll love this, which is fundamentally SPINAL TAP set in the town hall instead of the rock auditorium.
When folk music icon Irving Steinbloom passes away, his anal but adoring son Jonathan decides to gather together a glittering array of his father’s best-loved musicians for a tribute concert at New York City’s Town Hall. These are Mitch and Mickey (Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara), once the lover’s dream of folk music torn apart by heartbreak and Mitch’s greasy grip on his sanity; The Folksmen (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer), a trio of greying but talented ‘elder statesmen’ of folk; and the New Main Street Singers, a brightly-coloured ‘neuftet’ featuring John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch and Parker Posey.
The actors themselves are all accomplished musicians meaning that the music is actually extremely good, catchy too, and the concert at the end is all live. There are gems such as ‘Potato’s in the Paddy Wagon’, about a person named Potato being in a paddy wagon (ah, of course!), and ‘Never Did No Wanderin”, about a person who literally didn’t do anything.
The performances, all improvised and starring Guest’s regular collaborators, are sharp and hilarious in the understated way that Guest’s work usually is, and Eugene Levy is properly terrifying as Mitch, looking like Einstein on LSD and rolling his eyes like a fruit machine, whilst provoking in the viewer an overwhelming urge to grab him by the collar and shake him to finish a sentence.
All in all, a very funny, entertaining romp that will feed Guest’s fan base with their next fix of his comic genius and enchant a new legion of fans alike.