Can't Stop the Music
Reviewed by Ned Daigle
Rating: 10 Beans
nd now for, undeniably, the absolute worst musical in film history. Granted, I have not seen "Spice World", Jenny LeComte's fave "Jubilee" or Florence Henderson in "Song of Norway", but I have seen "Grease 2", "Xanadu", "Lost Horizon", "At Long Last Love", "Lisztomania", "Mame", "Purple Rain" and "Graffiti Bridge" so I do know from wence I speak.
What separates "Can't Stop the Music" from the rest of the pack is the complete lack of talent involved. I mean, EVERYONE is horrible. Not just good people giving bad performances, writing, directing etc. But BAD people. Walking voids who couldn't do good work even if uzis were pointed at their heads. What can be said when the movie stars Steve Guttenberg, Valerie Perrine, Bruce Jenner, the Village People, and Paul Sand, directed by Nancy Walker (the red-headed Bounty, the quicker-picker-upper lady), and written and produced by kitch-meister Allan Carr (the same man also responsible for the Oscar show debacle featuring Rob Lowe and Snow White). It's a great wonder that God just didn't hurl down a meteor and wipe everyone out on the set on the first day of principal photography.
The plot (pardon me while I scream with laughter), deals with Jack Morell (Guttenberg) who is such a talented songwriter that his faghag roommate Samantha (Perrine) demand that they create the greatest band in the world to do justice to his ground-breaking ditties (hence the creation of the Village People). Olympian Bruce Jenner is Ron who arrives in New York and is promptly robbed by an elderly lady. To tell you the truth, I forget exactly how Jenner gets involved with Guttenberg and Perrine, but like it matters.
Your first clue that this flick is going to be sheer horror is, ironically, the opening credits, which shows grinning idiot Guttenberg boogie-ing down the streets of NYC wearing headphones, bell-bottoms, and rollerskates. This is probably the first case of a film being dated even before it opened to theatres.
Anyway our trio of friends gather several local singing studs, who of course come from several different walks of life, one's a cop, a soldier, a construction worker and a cowboy. Felipe (the Indian) actually walks around the city wearing feathers and loincloths, as if that were normal! No big deal, after all, he IS an Indian. The leatherman, Glenn, is explained that he works as a tollbooth operator. One of the film's biggest laughs has Glenn finally showing up to audition, he's big, burly, hairy, decked out in leather from head to foot, but when he opens his mouth to speak, the nelliest, most effeminite voice comes out. To get the job he prompty jumps on a pedestal and does a rendition of "Danny Boy".
Well, once the group is set, the rest of the movie is just a series of (bad) musical vignettes. Now, the music of the Village People is fine if you want to shake your butt on the dancefloor. But when put to a visual medium, you see the music for the homoerotic twaddle that it is. I mean, "YMCA" is done with a bunch of beautiful boys doing gymnastics and lathering each other up in the showers. Oh, and I even forgot to mention the musical number devoted to milk, replete with sequin-clad dancing girls and Valerie Perrine lazing about in a giant drink glass.
Well, of course, the record label exec Steve Waite (Sand) thinks the band is the bomb and promptly signs them up. Soon, the nation will be united with Guttenberg's music. Perrine helpfully ads "Your music is bringing these boys together, they should get down on their knees!" For what reason, Valerie?
Sure I've mentioned the bad acting, directing, writing and singing. But it's so much worse. The movie doesn't even look good, it looks so flat and washed out. At least they could have shelled out some bucks to make it look glitzy.
Maybe it was an omen, but Perrine tells all that "these are the 80's, you're gonna see things you've never seen before", but thankfully we wouldn't hear from Perrine, Village People, Jenner, or Walker again. Steve Guttenberg survived, but if your career starts with unbearable garbage like this, it will only be a matter of time before it's put on life support (hence his last starring role in the Olsen twins opus "It Takes Two").
Oh the 70's! We hardly knew ye!
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