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Friday, February 03, 2006

 

You Can't Buy Me Lunch... but some humor would be nice!





Permit me a moment of self-indulgence... after all, what IS a Blog for if not self-indulgence?

I have purchased a DVD that I would like others to pass by, saving their money for something better, like garbage bags, toothpicks or shoestrings. In fact, spending your money on practically anything would be better than buying this DVD.

The Rutles 2, Can't Buy Me Lunch

Speciously billed as "the hilarious sequel from Eric Idle", this second mockumentary about the lives of the faux 60's rock band, The Rutles, is a sad, often times amateurish, attempt at comedy. Sad because it comes from the mind of Eric Idle, a member of the famous British comedy troupe Monty Python, a person from whom one would expect better. Amateurish because it seems to have been made with a handheld video camera wielded by an 18-year-old film student who has yet to learn any lighting or sound techniques.

The original film, The Rutles, All You Need Is Cash, was a collaboration of the old Saturday Night Live gang (Ebersol, Murry, Radner, Newman, etc.) and veteran comedian, Eric Idle made in 1978 as a spoof on the Beatles. It was very well made and written with both slapstick comedy and dry wit throughout.

This entry, however, is just plain horrible. Not only is half of it just a re-play of the first episode's footage with new stuff by a very much older Eric Idle thrown in, but that new stuff is even simple rehash. The same old jokes plod across the screen -- the announcer does a walking shot with the camera in movement. He ends up at the dead run because the camera begins to move faster and faster. The same joke is in the original film.

But, the worst part of it all is the faux interviews with celebrities, most of whom seem to be wondering, as the filming rolls on, why Mr. Idle is bothering them in their homes... unfortunately that bit of "humor" was unintentional.

The worst one was the the segment with the lovely singer, Jewel. It becomes obvious she never heard of the Rutles concept at all and didn't seem to know why it might be funny. For that matter, it didn't even seem that she knew who Eric Idle was, but was too polite to tell him and his film student to take their $200 Walmart video camera somewhere else!

The lighting was bad. The sound was muffled or filled with echoes. The celebrities were uncoached, oblivious of the concept, or just not very funny. And Eric Idle was boringly unoriginal stealing from his own past work.

More annoyingly, when I brought home my copy, half the Special Features (Special is a misnomer) were digitally broken up. It happened that my copy was a bad digital transfer and I had to take it back to get it replaced with another copy further cementing my distaste for this film.

All in all, I have to say that it is a shame that the original, far funnier, far better produced film was subtitled All You Need Is Cash, because if THIS production wasn't just a grab for some easy money no sequel ever filmed qualifies.

If you want funny Rutles, buy the original and pretend you never heard of THIS offering.

By Warner Todd Huston

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