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  Bula Quo! Margarita Time, Evidently
Year: 2013
Director: Stuart St. Paul
Stars: Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Craig Fairbrass, Jon Lovitz, Laura Aikman, Matt Kenard, Jean Heard, Andrew Bown, James O'Donnell, Albert Nathaniel Easgate, Kelemedi Vosqua, Tim Major
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: The British rock band Staus Quo have arrived for a concert in the Pacific nation of Fiji, and are impressed by its scenery, though on the way to the hotel they see a waterfall which captivates band member Rick (Rick Parfitt). Not so much when one of his cohorts pushes him into it and he falls ten feet into a pool, disappearing beneath the surface, giving cause for concern to everyone in the party as he fails to re-emerge. Oh, it's OK, here he is, but this minor debacle gives the manager Simon (Craig Fairbrass) an idea to contact the press and tell them Rick had a near-death experience and was returned to life...

Wait, what? Yes, about thirty to forty years after it might have been a good idea, this was the Status Quo movie, a low budget effort designed to celebrate their half century (or so) career in the business they call show, and on this evidence offer them a nice holiday into the bargain. This was the brainchild of British stunt expert Stuart St. Paul, who had branched out into directing his own movies, none of which made much of a wider impact until the bright idea of casting a rock band whose collective age reached into the centuries in an action comedy happened along. He and his wife, Jean Heard (who also appeared as a newsreader), penned a script, and they recruited their daughter Laura Aikman as the constantly grumbling female lead, the band's PR lady.

So you could regard Bula Quo! as part of a long line of Brit bands and singers starring in their own big screen vehicles, or you could see it as part of a more recent trend where films from the United Kingdom were trying to make money not with any of that heritage cinema, or the gritty kitchen sink melodrama, but by leaning heavily on novelty and stunt casting. Part of this trend included a film Aikman had starred in the previous year, Keith Lemon: The Film, a film which gleaned an even worse reaction than this one, and others included the likes of Run For Your Wife or The Harry Hill Movie, which would gain publicity from the supposed nadir in the country's moviemaking they represented. In this case, the blame could as least be shared by Fiji, who had a hand in its creation.

Of course, publicity for being the worst of the worst did not necessarily translate into tickets being sold, and Bula Quo! slinked away after the audience for it - Status Quo fans with a high threshhold for embarrassment - failed to turn out in droves for their guitar heroes. Certainly there were some wishing to defend it as just a laugh not to be taken seriously, and the duo of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt did come across as game for anything, but then again so did they come across as slightly confused, as if they were doing somebody a favour but not sure why and what exactly they were meant to be there for. When they took to the stage in concert footage they were in firmer ground, but these sequences were few and far between, so if you liked the tunes you might be let down.

Especially when the rest of it was padded out with Francis and Rick running about a lot and even getting into fights, complete with choreography of the "whack villain over the head with a pan" variety. There was a thriller element to the story, if this wasn't bemusing enough, so you could see this as the Status Quo equivalent of The Beatles' Help! (they share an exclamation mark in the title, anyway) when the axemen witnessed a game of forced Russian Roulette instigated by a local gangster, played by that legendary hardman Jon Lovitz (?). That's why they spent the rest of the movie running away until we reached the grand finale where (spoilers) Lovitz was shot by the Quosters in the bottom, after which nobody can think of anything further to say and we wrap up hastily with an promo video for the theme single strewn with outtakes as if we'd just watched The Cannonball Run. To all appearances this was concocted to get Status Quo to peform their hit Living on an Island on an actual island, but Down Down, Deeper and Down would have been more appropriate (as well as being a cracking tune).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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