Whether the rave scene on Spain's Balearic Islands deserves its own SPINAL TAP is open to debate, but this clever goof on hedonistic dance culture is also an unexpectedly sympathetic drama about coping with hearing loss. Purporting to be inspired by a true story, the film takes a mockumentary look at the surprising career of Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye), a 38-year-old drug-and-scotch-soaked British DJ who's been the hottest thing on the Ibiza club circuit for the past 11 years. At the peak of his career — Frankie has taken to descending into the DJ booth from the cavernous club's ceiling dressed only in a loincloth and a crown of thorns — catastrophe strikes. The nagging, high-pitched buzzing in his ears is getting worse, making work on Frankie's new album difficult and his record label very, very nervous. His wife, model/actress/video-vixen Sonja Slowinski (Kate Magowan), needs to shriek even louder than usual to be heard. Frankie's debauched, apoplexy-prone manager, Max Haggar (Mike Wilmot), insists on a trip to the doctor, but the test results only confirm Frankie's worst fears: He's losing his hearing. At first Frankie tries to hide it by relying on a tiny, inconspicuous hearing aid, but after a musician pitches his guitar into an amplifier during an in-studio fight, the resulting squall of feedback puts an end to Frankie's hearing altogether. He retires to his villa, locks himself in the bedroom and, after taping cotton over his ears, begins consuming massive amounts of cocaine. Frankie hopes the drugs and silence will somehow cure his deafness. They don't. It's only after he attempts suicide by taping a crown of Roman candles to his head that Frankie finally pulls himself together. He first flushes the drugs, then signs up for lip-reading lessons with the lovely Penelope Garcia (Beatriz Batarda), a deaf woman who shows him that there's more to life than what can be heard. Inspired, Frankie even devises a way to return to DJ-ing, at which point the film takes a surprising turn: The snarky laughs give way to a genuine concern for its hero and what he must now overcome. The club-scene satire will probably play better in Europe, where superstar DJs and holidays to sunny Spain are far more common than in the States. But the film's heart and its entertainingly surreal edge — the monkey on Frankie's back actually takes the form of a menacing giant badger in a pink kitchen apron — should help the film find a wider audience, terrible title notwithstanding.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: R
- Review: Whether the rave scene on Spain's Balearic Islands deserves its own SPINAL TAP is open to debate, but this clever goof on hedonistic dance culture is also an unexpectedly sympathetic drama about coping with hearing loss. Purporting to be inspired by a true… (more)