This is Spinal Tap (1984) / Comedy-Music

MPAA Rated: R for language
Running Time: 82 min.


Cast: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Bruno Kirby, Ed Begley Jr., Fran Drescher, Patrick Macnee, Dana Carvey, Billy Crystal, Howard Hesseman, Paul Shaffer, Anjelica Huston, Fred Willard
Director: Rob Reiner
Screenplay: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner

Review published November 19, 1998

This is Spinal Tap is a documentary -- er, a rockumentary -- er, a mockumentary -- well...

It's a parody of a documentary based on a fictitious British heavy metal band called Spinal Tap. Rob Reiner (More Than Friends, For Better or Worse) plays Marti DeBergi, a small-time director who wants to showcase this struggling rock act from the UK. Through a series of comical vignettes, Spinal Tap shows them on their difficult tour of the United States and the problems they have about losing gigs, controversial album covers, lyrics, behind the scenes footage, and their history.

This is Spinal Tap is a mostly funny send-up of the rock industry, with outstanding performances by the leads, all of whom did their own music (which actually sounds pretty good, even if the lyrics are meant to be bad). Although it does grow tedious in parts, there are some terrific gags, mostly ad-libbed, but still funny. There's plenty of cameos by many well-known and future stars, including Fran Drescher, Dana Carvey, Ed Begley Jr., Patrick Macnee, Angelica Huston, Howard Hesseman, and Billy Crystal.

This is Spinal Tap is a must-see for hard rock fans, and probably entertaining enough for most everyone else.

Qwipster's rating:

1998 Vince Leo