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Still Crazy Reviews

Most Americans probably missed the real golden age of British rock, but no matter: Brian Gibson's uproarious tale of a group of aging rockers who reunite for one last shot at stardom is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, even if you haven't a clue about Blodwyn Pig. Twenty years after a bolt of lightning ended the dubious career of rock 'n' roll also-rans Strange Fruit, keyboard player Tony (Stephen Rea) figures it's time for another go at success. After a little digging, Tony rounds up the surviving Fruits: lead singer Ray (Bill Nighy), permanently zonked behind his wrap-around shades and shackled to a shrewish Teutonic rock-wife named Astrid (Helena Bergstrom); Les (Jimmy Nail), the temperamental bass-player who's still nursing a 20-year grudge against Ray; drummer Beano Baggot (Timothy Spall), who sees the tour as a perfect opportunity to escape the circling tax collectors; and ever-faithful roadie and sound man Hughie (Billy Connolly), who serves as chorus to the tragedy that is Strange Fruit. With a brand-new lead guitarist (Hans Matheson) filling in for the band's fallen ax-man, the boys set out for Holland under the management of their former personal assistant Karen (Juliet Aubrey), desperately searching for all those Dutch Strange Fruit fans they know are out there... somewhere. Thought very much in the mold of THE FULL MONTY and countless other recent British comedies featuring bands of quirky blokes who find strength in numbers, this film manages to avoid most of their cloying sentimentality. The cast is uniformly hilarious (Nighy is particularly good) and Gibson -- who directed the punk-rock saga BREAKING GLASS and Tina Turner biopic WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT -- brings some real energy to the band's onstage performances, without resorting to rock video cliches or flat-out SPINAL TAP satire.