JUST FOR THE RECORD

4.5 out of 10

Release Date: 17th May 2010 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Steve Lawson: (Dead Cert)

Cast: Roland Manookian, Craig Fairbrass, Billy Murray, Danny Dyer, Ian Virgo, Geoff Bell, Victoria Silvstedt, Sean Pertwee, Phil Davis, Trianna Terry, Lisa McAllister, Calum MacNab, Ciaran Griffiths, Alice Barry, Simon Phillips, Rita Ramnani with Frank Harper, Colin Salmon, Steven Berkoff and Rik Mayall

Writer: Phillip Barron and Ben Shallot

Trailer:  JUST FOR THE RECORD

The DVD cover declares “They Made The Worst Film Of All Time… Let The Trial Begin!”.  Coming from the same team that gave us Dead Cert, at least they’re sticking to what they know.Bad films!  Documentary maker Andy Wiseman (an extra crap RIK MAYALL – THE LEGEND OF HARROW WOODS) decides to find out exactly what happened to the missing film of veteran actor Wilson Barnes (BILLY MURRAY – AIRBORNE).  Set in a record shop, over pretentious, martial arts fanatic film director Harlan Noble (ROLAND MANOOKIAN – GBH in a rare leading role) is following up his debut Ninja Sharks (They’re Ninjas AND Sharks!!!).  Producer Geoff Bell (ROUTE IRISH) would sooner hide out in the local strip joint, whilst executive producer (DANNY DYER – 7LIVES)secures finances from a local hard man called Mental Fists (CRAIG FAIRBRASS – GET LUCKY).  Clashing egos, incoherent re-writes, pissed up stars, unhelpful shop staff are recalled by the incredulous cast and film crew.  Steven Berkoff’s (DEAD CERT) DoP has been carted off to the loony bin and is reduced to ranting in a pink beret. At no point do we see the footage of the “Just For The Record” film-within-a-film which is a relief because it doesn’t sound “funny” funny. It sounds like a maze of continuity errors and weird creatures, the cast keep on referring to Space Monkeys(??). Replace Space Monkeys with the word Vampire and they could well be talking about the making of Dead Cert.  Most of the laughs and there are a handful, come from Manookian’s take on Harlan Noble and his spiritual guru (SEAN PERTWEE – WILD BILL) who practice a martial art so secret that they are the only people who know it.  Danny Dyer‘s supporting turn is very funny. His constant avoidance of straight answers keep the jokes on a roll. But the script just isn’t funny enough.  Some of the performances are wildly over the top, namely Ian Virgo’s (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER) script writer.  His performance is straight out of a sixth former’s end of term revue.  It has it’s merits but his orbit is stratospheric, he even makes  Steven Berkoff’s scenery munching look anorexic.

So what we have here is a reasonably terrible movie about the making of a truly terrible movie.  What can you say when the makers are clearly in on the joke?  This is an improvement on Dead Cert (although research doesn’t reveal which came first) because at least it has quite a number of funny moments.  But it’s got no style, thought or poise.  It could’ve easily been directed by the fictional, Harlan and  may be it was.  Perhaps the final joke is on us! It perhaps goes down in the Guinness Book as the largest waste of talented actors in one place at the same time.  I think Billy Murray, et al must be members of an anti-cinema cult.  It’s the only explanation for this group of repeat offenders. “And they told me, I may never ride my unicycle ever again!” ArgggghhHHHH!

 4.5 out of 10 – At least it was sporadically humourous.  Everyone here is capable of better though, well maybe not Rik Mayall (see his Richard Driscoll collabs for proof).

SEE Matt Usher / Joe Pesci II’s counter review below. I think he enjoyed this one……! 

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN?

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One thought on “JUST FOR THE RECORD

  1. 4 out of 10

    Just for the Record is a mockumentary about the making of the film Just for the Record. Alas, the latter film does not actually exist, either in reality or within the reality of the film Just for the Record (by which I mean the documentary). This hyper-post-modernist conceit is an intriguing set-up, and the idea is pursued in a powerfully absurdist vein in that no footage from Just for the Record (the fictional film) appears in Just for the Record (the mock documentary). Thus, by concentrating the viewers’ concentration on the world around the non-existant fictional film the film-makers are attempting to weave us, the audience, into the warp and weft of their creation so that we create the fictional Just for the Record in our minds from the clues provided in Just for the Record (the cod documentary), thus implicating the viewer in the creation of the fictional film Just for the Record and saving Steve Lawson the bother of having to make it himself. Yes, this is a Steve Lawson film. I have recently had the misfortune to see and review his other directorial effort, the abominable Dead Cert. This is better (though that’s like saying herpes is better than being flayed alive with a blunt flayer).

    Perhaps Mr Lawson has decided to work with what he knows this time, for he assuredly knew nothing about vampires, gangsters and strip-clubs in Dead Cert. This time he is investigating the world of the actor and the film-maker (and also gangsters and a strip-club, after all these must be part of the very fabric of the low-budget British movie). I suspect there must be a lot of in-jokes which, if you’re Simon Philips (a special guest star) are probably hilarious; take for example Colin Salmon as the gay black film editor – Salmon’s brilliant but what are they sending up? How many gay black film editors do you know? In fact, how many film editors do you know? **JOE YOU DORK… HARLAN COBAN HAS A FEAR OF BLACKS AND GAYS SO THE PRODUCERS ADVERTISE FOR ONE** – BRIT PIC DICKUS

    This is pretty much the pattern of the film. After a refreshingly light, if over-comic, title sequence, we meet Rik Mayall investigating the fate of the incomplete Just for the Record (fictional) film by interviewing cast and crew. For reasons best known to Mr Lawson, much of Mayall’s contribution is limited to off-camera questions hurled at the interviewees, most of which sound as if they were dubbed in some time later in a different acoustic, as if Mayall wasn’t there. It’s extremely jarring and basically buggers up the mockumentary conceit right from the start. Curiously Mayall does appear in the scenes with strippers. (Now I’m not suggesting Rik Mayall is up to no good, after all these scenes do also include Geoff Bell so that’s OK). But constantly the film belies its own intentions, and we find ourselves pondering just what our relationship is meant to be with Victoria Silvstedt for example: are we meant to believe that she’s a big film star ‘giving something back’ just as her fictional character in the Just for the Record doc is ‘giving something back’ to the makers of Just for the Record (fiction film within film)? Or are we meant to see her as a relatively little-known former Hollywood player who is satirising stars bigger than she is? This Silvstedt question is crucial to get to grips with as it underlies our whole approach to this exercise. Sadly, one person who hasn’t got to grips with it is Mr Lawson who just doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. One example will suffice: Ian Virgo as the writer. This dreadful performance would probably go down a storm in some Fast Show-descended sketch show. But this is a feature, purporting to be a documentary purporting to investigate a real incident. As such, in which level of these realities is it likely that anyone would think it a good idea to masturbate whilst being interviewed? But then, paradoxically, by including such an absurd moment (which has obviously been written by someone claiming to be a writer) the film’s view of the film screenwriter (as an annoying wanker) is shown to be correct. How unexpectedly layered this film is, I suppose it demands repeated watching to explore these ironies and nuances, except not by me.

    The actors have a great time, and (when not struggling to understand Mr Lawson’s complex philosophy) the audience may well enjoy some of their contributions. Danny Dyer is really funny, Phil Davis steals the film with his shop-keeper-cum-stop-motion-animator, someone called Triana Terry is pitch-perfect as the ingénue, Craig Fairbrass sends himself up beautifully, and Steven Berkoff is rather wonderful as a ranting ex-cinematographer. Special mention must be made for Roland Manookian as the director of Just for the Record (fictional unmade film). He is ego, arrogance and self-delusion personified in a tiny ball of unflappable omniscience. And I apologise to Lisa McAllister because she does do a decent comedy Welsh hairdresser. Unfortunately Rita Ramnani is awful as the comedy immigrant and Billy Murray’s position as elder statesman of the low budget British movie remains mystifying.

    This works well in brief spurts, but there just isn’t a film here; it would have been much better as some sort of BBC3 or Channel 4 dumb comedy. It tries to do something a bit different and is even occasionally funny (in a deliberate sort of way) which is all to the good, but the film loses its way frequently, gets sidetracked by gangsters and strippers, and the script just isn’t strong enough for us to believe in or care about what we’re seeing. Personally I think Mr Lawson should have thought more about the concepts of art and life and how he wanted to blur the boundaries, for what we have here is surely meant to be art imitating the life of art, but instead we get art (in the broadest sense) about art pretending badly to be life about art about life. My head hurts, I think I’ll go and watch an Essex gangster film.

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