Published Jul 01, 2003As the old Australian adage goes, it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll. Especially if you suck. It's not giving anything away to say that the garage band in Alex Proyas's new Aussie comedy really does, despite the fact that for some reason it's served up as a revelation in the climax of the movie. (All the trailers and poster art gleefully proclaim them to be awful.) Sadly, it's also a fact that can be applied to the film itself. Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) has concocted a fizzling comedic cocktail that's lighter than air and twice as empty, yet still thick as a brick.
Garage Days follows nice guy Freddy (Kick Gurry) on his desperate quest to become a famous rock'n'roll singer. Despite his dreams of blasting out AC/DC's "High Voltage" to a crowd of 50,000 with his band, Freddy is no second coming of Bon Scott. Tired of struggling to land gigs at local bars, where video gambling terminals (which Aussies quaintly refer to as "pokies") and DJs have usurped live bands as the preferred cost-effective entertainment, Freddy still believes that rock and roll ain't noise pollution, but no one will listen. So when he recovers the wallet of the hottest music agent Down Under, Shad Kern (Marton Csokas), at his neighbourhood watering hole, he figures it's his last chance at stardom. Too bad the band is on the verge of breaking up over a sordidly boring love triangle.
Can they keep it together? Will Freddy get the girl (Maya Stange) or be shot down in flames? Will they play another Cure tune on the soundtrack ('cuz I like the Cure)? Will it ever be over? Hell's bells! Okay, Garage Days does include some clever pokes at the virtual evisceration of genuine rock and roll at the hands of teen pop princesses in recent years, and its cast is generally enthusiastic and winning. But they are also generally wasted in this half-baked music video that plays like the Monkees' take on Irvine Welsh. All the artfully staged "bullet time" shots of falling rain in the world can't redeem an unfunny comedy. Somebody get the T.N.T., this one's a goner. (Fox Searchlight)