Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pirate Radio - A Sinking Ship

The trailer for the movie Pirate Radio promises to be a rocking tale of hi jinx on the high seas. Based around the true story of radio stations that took their broadcasts to the ocean when rock music was outlawed in the 60's in the UK, Pirate Radio has all the ingredients and the perfect cast (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Frost) to deliver the goods. And it does, for the first 20 minutes or so, before the plot of the movie more or less sinks like the Titanic.

The story centers around Carl (played by British hunk, Tom Sturridge) a young rebel whose mother has sent him to stay on the boat of the most popular illegal radio station in all of Britain, because that's definitely going to straighten him out. Despite the fact that Sturridge in real life probably has to actively pull super models off of him, and despite the fact that he is supposedly 'a rebel,' his character, Carl, has never been laid and is, over all, kind of a dork. He is soon corrupted by the crew on the boat and eventually (spoiler alert!) even manages to score with the ladies.

The problem with Pirate Radio is that I actually had to think about what the plot was when I walked out, and when it is actually as simple as previously mentioned (and it is) that is not necessarily a good thing. The bad guy in the movie (aside from the pudgy Nick Frost, who somehow manages to keep stealing Carl's women) is a British government agent who wants the boat stations shut down. This only causes a very minor drama in the movie because we are already bogged down with several other subplots that amount to absolutely nothing, such as when one of the more hapless characters gets married on the boat (although we never are clear where this woman, Mad Men's delicious January Jones, came from). Afterward, in a terribly awkward scene, he is told by his new wife that she wants to sleep with another man on the boat. She does not reappear again in the movie. Then we are told that the hottest American DJ in the world is coming aboard, although he turns out to be a Brit, and the audience is never given any explanation. There are chicken fights that seem to resolve even the most heated arguments, Carl's middle aged mother is apparently a huge slut, although it's only hinted at (for reasons of which I am unsure) and in one scene three men sit and eat milk and cookies without talking for 3 minutes on screen. If this all sounds a bit disjointed, it's because it is.

What is most disappointing about this movie is the fact that it lacks any grit whatsoever. Whoever decided that the director of Love Actually should be in charge of a movie about horny, dope smoking, hard partying, pirate rock and rollers has obviously seen one too many Rom-Coms and not enough concerts. The one saving grace of Pirate Radio is its fantastic soundtrack. If you sat through this movie with your eyes closed, it might actually be pretty good. In the end Pirate Radio was about way too many things, and ultimately, about nothing at all.
Travis Hare


  1. Your Girlfriend19/11/09 08:01

    delicious January Jones, hmm?

  2. What? I didn't see what you wrote. I was too busy listening to you talk about how cute the lead character was.

  3. Your Girlfriend19/11/09 09:52

    Whatever. Cute vs. Delicious? Really?

  4. Debbie McGuire19/11/09 19:10

    Love Actually was one of the worst movies I ever wasted my time in the theater watching. Same director? What do you expect? I think I'll pass.

  5. OMG! Thank you Debbie! I can't tell you how many times I have said that and people look at me like I am not human. Thank you!

  6. Duuuummmmbbbeer than DUMB. What a waste of time. I would have rather just watched a 20 minutes of the soundtrack with the montage of people dancing to the music. The rest was a total self indulgent ego driven look how cool we are bore.