This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

on March 02, 1984 by BOXOFFICE Staff
   "This Is Spinal Tap" is about as funny and on-target as parody gets. But like all parody, it requires a certain frame of mind to be appreciated and is hardly what you'd call univeral. In the case of "Spinal Tap," the audience might be limited to moviegoers between 20 and 40-young enough to like rock music and old enough to have developed a healthy sense of realism about it.

   Fimed and edited in a purposely slap-dash style familiar to anyone who's sat through a midnight showing of a real-life "rockumentary," "This Is Spinal Tap" is introduced by its director and the group's longtime fan Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner). DiBergi decides instead to follow the British-based Spinal Tap on their American tour in six years and in the process create the definitive rockumentary.

   Reportedly, "This Is Spinal Tap" was unscripted. Except for a couple pre-written speeches and background material on the group and its members, the entire cast improvised what appears onscreen. That occasionally gives it the proper sense of realism. So accurate is the movie's satire that it's feasible to expect some unsuspecting audiences to not pick up on the joke and believe they're actually watching yet another bad backstage documentary on another mediocre, over-the-hill group of heavy metal dinosaurs.

   "This Is Spinal Tap" has also created a whole new world of characters, many of whom-believe it or not-you come to care for by the end of the tour. That's what makes it so special. Embassy. 82 min. Starring Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Tony Hendra and June Chadwick

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