Irish Film Institute -This Is Spinal Tap

This Is Spinal Tap

Director: Rob Reiner

Now a cult classic, Rob Reiner’s hilarious spoof documentary receives a welcome re-release in a new print with a Dolby digital soundtrack. Spinal Tap is the name of an English rock group on an ill-fated tour of America to publicise their new album, ‘Smell the Glove’, a successor to ‘Shark Sandwich’ and ‘Intravenous de Milo’. All manner of misfortunes befall them. At one gig, they fail to find their way from dressing room to stage. At another, a supposedly awesome Stonehenge set turns out to be eighteen inches high. Also, their performance of ‘Sex Farm Woman’ at a family dance at an airforce base goes down like a lead balloon.

Other problems surface. Tension develops between the manager, who is continually exhorting the group to ‘go out and kick arse’, and the lead singer’s astrological girlfriend, whose momentous suggestion is that they should perform in Dobly stereo. The two leading members of the group (brilliantly performed by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest) fall out. A recurring problem is that their drummers have a tendency to spontaneously combust.

‘It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever,’ comments a member of the group when one of his more inane ideas is shot down in flames. It is indeed, and Reiner’s marvellous comedy treads it with absolute confidence, offering top-notch parody and performances and an appearance by Reiner himself as a movie-brat director making a ‘rockumentary’ about the group and bearing a suspicious resemblance to Martin Scorsese.

U.S.A., 1983.
Dolby digital stereo.
83 mins.

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