Monday, July 21, 2008

#23: The Rutles: All You Need is Cash


The Rutles: All You Need is Cash
Directed by Eric Idle and Gary Weis
Written by Eric Idle
Released March 22, 1978

Try as I might, there are just some movies I'm not going to have a lot to discuss about on this site. There's no sense in trying to bust my ass selling someone on The Rutles, a made for television mock-rockumentary. It's one of those things that you're just going to like or not.

Do you like Eric Idle and Michael Palin, or by extension, the style of absurd British comedy at which they and their friends in Monty Python excelled? Do you love The Beatles (or, do you hate The Beatles so much that you've been dying to see them mocked nonstop)? Do song parodies make you pee your pants with glee?

If so, you're probably gonna love The Rutles. If you answered "No," or even "Maybe" to any of those questions, don't bother.

I'm still a little ambivalent about my feelings for the movie. There were some hilarious moments, mostly regarding Idle's documentary "host" and his dealings with the camera and some of his interview subjects (his abusive dealings with a combative Gilda Radner come to mind). The musical spoofs, largely composed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's Neil Innes (who also does a spot-on job impersonating John Lennon), are extremely well crafted and often very amusing. One of the stand-out musical bits is a recreation of The Beatles Yellow Submarine cartoon, featured here as a segment from Yellow Submarine Sandwich. There are a number of guest appearances from Saturday Night Live castmembers like John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Al Franken and Bill Murray.

Aside from an appearance by Beatle George Harrison as an interviewer, the other guest appearances by famous musicians are absolutely worthless. Mick Jagger seems to be having a good time anticipating the moment where he gets to give a funny answer, but its almost as if the opportunity never presents itself. Paul Simon offers even less.

All You Need is Cash is fun, for the most part, and especially worth a viewing for those who are predetermined to enjoy this sort of thing. The music sounds deceptively like the real deal, and Idle's recreations of some of the most famous points in Beatle history are perfect satire. It just seems to go on a little long. With a low budget and a narrow focus aimed singularly at the Fab Four, eventually the jokes wear a little thin.

For more on The Rutles:
- The Rutles Tragical History Tour
- More information at IMDB

George Harrison's appearance in the movie:

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