Garage Days

on July 18, 2003 by Annlee Ellingson
A raucous musical comedy about a bunch of kids who dream of becoming rock stars is perhaps not what one would expect from the director of such darkly mythic movies as “The Crow” and “Dark City.” Yet, Alex Proyas has followed those two films with “Garage Days,” bringing his visual tool kit with him to infuse the playtime trifle with a bit of that dark energy.

Cute, charismatic Kick Gurry as Freddy leads this ensemble that includes his bass-playing girlfriend Tanya (Pia Miranda), a drug-loving, Mohawked drummer Lucy (Chris Sadrinna) and brooding guitarist Joe (Brett Stiller). The gang wants nothing more than a steady gig but have trouble finding one in an age in which live music has flat-lined. Meanwhile, sexual high jinks ensue as sparks fly between Freddy and Joe's girlfriend, who subsequently discovers she's pregnant, and Tanya hooks up with Lucy. The plot goes through familiar paces as the group goes to extreme lengths to attract the attention of a powerful record executive, but ultimately subverts any preconceived expectations in a clever twist that demonstrates “you don't have to be a rock star to feel like one.”

What makes this romp especially watchable is Proyas' visual flair, characterized by such effects as slow motion and the use of manipulated stills. Particularly notable are the film's “Fun With Drugs” segments, the second of which finds the gang unintentionally high just as they are hitting up Tanya's parents for money. One hallucinates that the others' heads as going up in flames, while another morphs into a red-skinned demon scaling the kitchen walls, and, most disturbingly of all, Tanya's parents begin to serenade her to “Superfreak,” their horrifyingly suggestive dance moves outmatched later by their terrifyingly mutating bodies.

Proyas and his cast obviously are having a very good time, infusing each scene with youthful energy and taking their audience along for the ride. GARAGE DAYS JPG Starring Kick Gurry, Maya Stange, Pia Miranda, Russell Dykstra and Brett Stiller. Directed by Alex Proyas. Written by Dave Warner, Alex Proyas and Michael Udesky. Produced by Topher Dow and Alex Proyas. A Fox Searchlight release. Musical comedy. Rated R for strong sexual content, drug use and language. Running time: 105 min.

Tags: Kick Gurry, Maya Stange, Pia Miranda, Russell Dykstra, Brett Stiller, Alex Proyas, Dave Warner, Michael Udesky, Topher Dow, Fox Searchlight, musical comedy, Freddy, Tanya, drugs, Joe, Lucy

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