BULA QUO!

3 out of 10

Release Date: 5th July 2013

Director: Stuart St.Paul (Freight)

Cast: Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Craig Fairbrass, Laura Aikman, Matt Kennard, Jean Heard and Jon Lovitz

Writer: Jean Heard & Stuart St.Paul

Trailer: BULA QUO! 

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Way less offensive than his earlier ‘current affairs’ driven movie Freight, film director Stuart St. Paul and family return with this loopy attempt at popular comedy.  Is it better than Freight? Not really but at least it looks like everybody had fun and got a free holiday in Fiji – so why complain? Well if there was anybody out there who was wondering whether or not Status Quo (yes Status Quo the rock band) could act, here’s their chance to find out. All five of the current members of the band are present but the film mainly revolves around a fictional tour in Fiji where lead members Francis Rossi and Ricky Parfitt get involved with some nasty gangsters lead by Jon Lovitz (CITY SLICKERS 2). Oh oh.

Coming across like the missing link to the Cannon and Ball vehicle Boys In Blue and Condor Man flicks of the 1980s that would star obscure stars (to film) – the plot sees our two leads get embroiled with body part smugglers and find themselves on the run with only an inept Fiji-an transport system and their muscle bound manager, Simon (CRAIG FAIRBRASS – GET LUCKY) to keep them out of trouble. Only they keep on getting deeper into trouble by themselves and with even more help from their lippy intern Caroline (LAURA AIKMAN – THE KEITH LEMON FILM). And on it goes.

Bula Quo! is pretty much an excuse to soak in the idyllic Fiji locales and scratch your head whilst you watch the actors and musicians struggle to remember their marks and lines from scene to scene. There are stunts in here somewhere but they’re all performed in slow motion (and badly choreographed) by our ageing action heroes. There’s a very lame fight scene where Craig Fairbrass takes on about ten of Fiji‘s finest policemen. Also there’s an equally stupid skirmish in a kitchen where he batters two men with a flip flop!? Chase scenes occur at 10 miles per hour as it’s too hot and the actors are too old to run.  Everything is edited badly, so everything looks staged and in slow motion. It just looked like everyone was having a half-assed hoot. Only the concert footage worked and that’s because that’s where Rossi and Parfitt are most at home. I’m not a Quo fan but some of the songs which accompany one of about six montage sequences are actually catchy and OK. But I’m not converted, sorry!  Anyway, like I strongly suspect, everybody involved was in this for a holiday in Fiji. That was as far as everybody got when reading the script…. The setting. Neither Rossi or Parfitt can act to save their lives, not even able to play themselves. I wonder if they peer around corners like cartoon characters  in real life? That would be funny. It seems to be something they do before entering any room in the film. Acting the final frontier. I guess at their stage in their music careers they must have wanted to try something different. Film history is listed with major music stars attempting to make the cross over to film world.  The DVD / Video shelves are a waste land of films like Vanilla Ice’s Cool As Ice, All Saints’ Honest, Spice World etc but at least those guys had a budget. Bula Quo! is an amateurish caper best forgotten by all concerned except hardcore Status Quo fans who may still be embarrassed by their hero’s efforts at comedy.

3 out of 10 – Inoffensive but cheap caper movie starring famous people that should never have been mistaken for actors. In short it’s awful and will only be memorable as a misadventure and an excuse to see what Fiji is like, if you’ve never been there. It’s obviously duff but it’s a harmless bit of fun. Hard to dislike but it’s pure ‘special bus’.

Read Joe Pesci II’s review below.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Craig Fairbrass: Breakdown (2015), Gunned Down, The Hooligan Factory, Vikingdom, Saving Santa (voice), Get LuckyDerangedSt. George’s DayDevil’s PlaygroundFreight, Dead CertThe Shouting Men,  Just For The Record,  The Bank Job, Rise Of The Foot Soldier, White Noise 2, Dark Days, Proteus, Beyond Bedlam, Cliffhanger, Eastenders (TV), Tucker’s Luck (TV)
  • Laura Aikman: The Hatching, Amar Akbar & Tony, Waterloo Rd (TV), Not Going Out (TV), Keith Lemon, Lemon La Vida Loca (TV), Freight, Casualty (TV)
  • Matt Kennard: Ibiza Undead, Pleasure Island, Killing Time, Freight, Doctors (TV)
  • Jean Heard: Amar Akbar & Tony, Freight
  • Jon Lovitz: The Simpsons (TV) (voice), Grown Ups 2, Hotel Transylvania (voice), Casino Jack, I Could Never Be Your Woman, Southland Tales, The Benchwarmers, The Producers (2005), The Stepford Wives (2004), Rat Race, Cats & Dogs (voice), 3000 Miles To Graceland, Little Nicky, Small Time Crooks, Happiness, The Wedding Singer, High School High, Mathilda, Trapped In Paradise, North, City Slickers 2, Coneheads, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, A League of Their Own, An American Tail 2 (voice), Mr. Destiny, My Stepmother Is An Alien, Big, The Three Amigos, Jumpin’ Jack Flash
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One thought on “BULA QUO!

  1. BULA QUO! – review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    This is probably the most relentlessly upbeat and joyous film that will ever be made about cannibalism and the trade in human organs. On the face of it, BULA QUO! is a loopy, cheeky-chappie sort of film following two heroes as they clown about in Fiji, singing songs and running for their lives. At a deeper level though, it is a film about how foreigners are either stupid or evil and only the power of the imperial British fist can keep them in line. Fortunately the British fist belongs to Craig Fairbrass, but more about him later.

    How does this film exist? After all, it’s basically Status Quo playing themselves on tour in Fiji, and getting involved with unscrupulous journalists and lackadaisical gangsters. The first big surprise (for me) is that there’s more than two Quo-men! Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi are accompanied by three other band members! Who knew? Certainly not the writers, who give the other chaps two lines of dialogue in total. The film focuses on Parfitt’s and Rossi’s misadventures, casting them as a latter day Laurel and Hardy (I think they were aiming for Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, but I know who I’d rather watch). And here, dear reader, my continuing midlife movie crisis perhaps reaches its apex. Yesterday I admitted to detesting a film I should have liked (STALLED). Today…let me explain. As the Quo (as they are surely known) arrive in Fiji they are joined by a gaggle of (about two) press people including Jean Heard (co-writer and wife of the director). At one point she passes behind a wall bearing a sign saying ‘emergency ambulance’. Rick Parfitt walks straight into it. And I laughed. At first I thought I was laughing because it was so bad. But then I began to wonder. A little later our heroes are trapped in a dressing room with a bomb attached to a doll. Rossi and Parfitt stare at each other and simultaneously exclaim ‘A blow-up doll!’ before attempting to escape. And again I laughed. I’m sorry. Is this how it begins? Will I soon be enjoying Last of the Summer Wine?

    Meanwhile, back in the film, our intrepid duo accidentally film some Russian roulette. The bad guys (led by minor Hollywood comedy chap Jon Lovitz) give chase, but fortunately the Quo have an entourage of two: Craig Fairbrass enjoying himself immensely (as far as one can tell – I’m sure that famously impassive countenance broke into a bemused / embarrassed smile on more than one occasion) as their manager / baby-sitter / bodyguard, and Laura Aikman (daughter of the film’s director) as a deeply stupid and irritating PA-type person (though she’s quite funny when she’s allowed to be). There’s also an American journalist hanger-on (played by Matt Kennard, late of FREIGHT) who plays no clear role in the proceedings. (Actually, they were all in FREIGHT. Do not watch FREIGHT. Abysmal, racist rubbish. I wonder if it would have been any different if Parfitt and Rossi had been in it?) Unexpectedly, BULA QUO! does contain what may well be Craig Fairbrass’s finest moment: maintaining his deadpan mien he wallops some henchmen with a flip-flop.

    As for Status Quo, they emerge from the film precisely as they must have hoped. Despite displaying so little flair for acting that they struggle to convince as themselves, Rossi and Parfitt have a certain lovable rogue-ness about them. And the film gives every impression of them being the lovably affable rockers that they claim to be, giggling at their decrepitude and glorying in their music. (The film is at its most comfortable when it’s just gig footage – maybe that would have been a more sensible project?)

    And Fiji looks very nice. I expect the tourism minister was very happy with the film’s look. But what about the illegal gambling, cannibalism and organ transplants? It seems that following a round of Russian roulette the loser is harvested for organs and the remainder is served up as a Fijian delicacy. The film doesn’t seem to have any problem with this at all, as if it’s just one of those things that dodgy foreigners do on a regular basis. Nobody even seems surprised. What is the director of the BNP recruitment video dismal thriller FREIGHT suggesting? Particularly as almost every Fijian seems to be working for the bad guys (except for two women who do a lot of the fighting for our heroes yet are never even (a) introduced to us and (b) acknowledged by anyone else in the cast. They just turn up, beat up some bad guys and vanish, like invisible superheroes).

    The plot makes no sense; the editing is poor; at one point a character gets tied up but is wandering around quite happily five minutes later; and there’s meant to be a blossoming romance between Kennard and Aikman (real-life sweethearts, bless) which the director seems to forget about / ignore. Maybe I’m being cynical, but it’s almost as if they were all having such a nice time on holiday that they actually forgot to film certain important scenes.

    I think the intention was to go for the spirit of films like A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, and in a lot of ways it resemble the Morecambe and Wise films (in a bad way, and even they weren’t very good). But the film is at least 45 years too late. But it’s a bank holiday sort of film. Maybe it might one day replace SUMMER HOLIDAY in the schedules? It’s bad and bland and unexciting and manages to accuse the Fijian people of being purveyors of human flesh, but on the other hand it’s very pretty to look at, has no pretensions, and has the feel of a comfortable old cardigan.

    So there we have it: a Status Quo action movie. Will this open the door? David Bowie in POLICE ACADEMY 12? The Rolling Stones in THE PICKWICK PAPERS? Harry Styles as DOCTOR ZHIVAGO? Mark my words, this film will leave a legacy.

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