Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked)
Has anyone really decided what this film is called yet? It’s on IMDb under The Boat that Rocked, Fandango has it as Pirate Radio, the theatre that I went to see it at displayed a poster with The Boat that Rocked, I’m confused. And so, must have been director Richard Curtis, since it became apparent during the showing that he didn’t really know what he wanted to say. The most representative advertising the film did, was to say, ‘from the people who brought you Love Actually.’ They both had charming and funny moments, but they both wandered around, never really sure of where they are supposed to be headed.
The story follows a ship that broadcasts Rock and Roll into the UK. It’s called Pirate Radio, because apparently the government didn’t allow land-based stations to play that sort of music? I don’t know. It wasn’t clearly explained. The ship is full of DJs that each have a show, and a few extraneous crew members there to fulfill flat character types (the lesbian, the fatherless youth looking for a family). They listen to good music, do drugs, and bring women on board to have sex with, but they’re only allowed once a week (and they’re not allowed to live on the boat unless they play for the other team). It’s all ‘based on a true story.’ But it seems mostly that the characters and even the boat itself (named Pirate Radio) are all really composites of several rouge radio stations and DJ personalities from the sixties on up to the early nineties).
Despite being a little overly familiar, the movie does have times when it really shines (I’ll admit that I laughed aloud a few times). This is due to, of course, the outstanding cast, which features Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and Emma Thompson (just to name a few). They were helped out by the script, penned by Curtis, which, despite devolving into something melodramatic and mediocre, starts out with some really witty stuff. Bill Nighy’s comedic timing is damn near perfect, and Rhys Ifans is always a pleasure to watch. There’s some great classic music showcased here, and occassionally you’ll be carried away by the film. But you will only be rudely awaken when the film loses it’s quippy pace. The whole thing ends with an homage of album covers that includes bands like The Black Eyed Peas, and Eminem. Yes, I was just as confused as you probably are.