Top critical review
Middle-aged attempt to recapture youth.
on January 11, 2002
This story of once-famous rock stars taking to the road in embarrassing middle-age summoned unavoidable comparisons with 'This Is Spinal Tap'. Here, however, the interest is less in ridiculing preposterous figures - although some of the things their singer does are conventionally silly - than fondly celebrating the desires of middle-age. When we first see our aging heroes, they are working a variety of unglamorous, 'ordinary' jobs. Unlike 'Spinal Tap', there is little attention to believable detail in this film, to the processes of the music industry, to the wiles of the people running and peopling it, to the alien-like removal from reality of its stars. There are various flashbacks to the band's skinny, youthful selves, but we don't believe for a moment that these pretty young men have any connection to the shabby slobs who have now, pod-like, taken over their names. These men are like any of their middle-aged ilk who reach a certain point of their life, see where they've ended up, a million miles from their teenage dreams and desires, and try to live them out before it's too late (a kind of rock 'City Slickers' if you will). Looked at this way, the film has more pathos than as a study of once-great superstars, or a satire of the music industry.
This doesn't mean there's any great depth to the characters - each is given a particular quality which is only minimally modified as the plot treads its predictable path. The bland trawl through various good-looking Euro-locations doesn't give them the rootedness or context they need (although this, admittedly, is a theme). The film's writers are a legendary British sitcom partnership, and the best scenes are those bantering and slanging sequences in interior, TV-friendly spaces such as pubs, buses or dressing rooms. The amiable cast make the whole thing watchable, but the music is neither funny enough to laugh at, nor good enough to pack the required emotional punch.