Punk rock isn’t what it was. That’s the driving concept for the main characters of this movie: a group of ex-rockers who have hit middle age and discovered that they’re bored with their lives. A drunken get together results in a CD, which lead singer Johnny Jones is convinced could be a hit single. He hits up his old contacts and does the round of record companies, only to be told that anyone over thirty isn’t interesting anymore.
But punk’s about fighting back, so The Weapons of Happiness do just that. Forming a pseudo band under the name The Single Shots, using local youths to mime their words and pretend to play guitar and drum parts, they release the single on the radio to instant success. A record company gives them a deal, and the world is at their feet. Then they decide to reveal the truth. How will everyone react?
It’s an interesting concept, and it’s based on the true story of Mike Peters’ rock and roll hoax of 2004. Pretty cool. But really, the only good thing about this movie is the soundtrack. Free Rock n Roll, the single that hits the charts, is catchy and fun. And the rest of the soundtrack is a Ramones-reminiscent romp through punk rock.
But the acting’s quite wooden, the characters aren’t all that well formed, and to be honest I didn’t feel much for any of them. I spent most of the film just hoping they’d start singing so I wouldn’t have to listen to them talking. A couple of scenes were almost painful: watching the altercations with the policeman, I wasn’t entirely sure that everyone was even remembering their lines, let alone bringing their characters to life.
If you can get your hands on the soundtrack, give it a listen. It’s pretty cool. But there are far better cult movies out this summer. Broken, for example. Watch that instead.
2/10 – A story with potential, badly executed. Give it a miss.
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