There have been some indisputably great rock ‘n’ roll films over the years: Wayne’s World, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and This is Spinal Tap to name but a few. What is it that makes them so memorable?
Although it’s rarely advisable to try to pinpoint this type of thing, it can safely be said that most successful films have strong characters and a storyline you can get your teeth into. This is true of all the above and like any good comedy, they provide plenty of good jokes, never taking themselves too seriously.
Unfortunately, Status Quo’s absolute yawn-fest of a film can only be said to possess the latter. In fact, Bula Quo has this quality in such abundance that the customary out-takes at the end are barely distinguishable from the actual film.
The great pity is that, for a more talented and witty director, making a film about Britain’s most notoriously middle-of-the-road and heavily seasoned rock ‘n’ roll band would have presented nothing less than a comedy goldmine, with endless possibilities for self-parody and irony. These are never explored; instead the plot follows the relatively weak and unrelentingly boring story of the organ-stealing gangsters the band meet while on tour in Fiji.
Through a series of desperately improbable events, these gangsters come to have designs on the organs of Quo’s blonde road manager, Laura Aikman. One clumsy scene after another follows, as the band’s frontmen Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt attempt to save her.
It’s hard not to feel as though director Stuart St. Paul missed a trick by not giving rock ‘n’ roll itself a prominent place in the film. It’s certainly not featured enough: there are a few moments when the band appear on stage looking rather Butlins-esque and secondary character occasionally highlights the rock star credentials of the leads.
Bula Quo exposes Rossi and Rick as basically a couple of seen-it-all types devoid of any genuine charm, enthusiasm or warmth (though they’re nice enough). Neither lead possesses the comic timing or personality strong enough to carry such a thinly plotted film.
So, in tribute to the late, great Roger Ebert, there is nothing to be said but “thumbs down”.
Bula Quo is released nationwide on 5th July 2013.
Watch the trailer for Bula Quo here: