The Boat That Rocked - Blu-ray Review

'forgets all about requisite ingredients such as plot, humour and romance'

By far the worst of the Richard Curtis-written, flaky, foppish, British comedies and (not coincidentally) the second he directed himself, The Boat That Rocked (American title: Pirate Radio) forms a nice, feature-length, collection of colourful montages set to a stunning sixties soundtrack but forgets all about requisite ingredients such as plot, humour and romance.

With a flat narrative loosely driven by Tom Sturridge's Carl's hunt for romance, laughter and his Dad, The Boat That Rocked doesn't exactly create new levels of depth for the laddish romantic comedy, instead, settling for something on the more shallow side of your average Jennifer Aniston vehicle. Side characters run the gamut between rather wonderful but under-scripted (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to distinctly annoying and over-used (Rhys Darby), but largely add little bar a collection of stereotypes who are lucky if they get a sentence or two of speech, let alone any proper development.

Curtis' writing, normally so vibrant and generally packed with one-liners, is here flat and occasionally joke-less, stooping to the level of naming a character 'Twatt' to raise titters in the audience. It seems incredible that the man who handled an ensemble relatively well in Love Actually and who scripted the incredibly charming and restrained Notting Hill could mess this up so badly but mess it up he does, with a flat-footed ineptness that really makes several areas (the final scenes in particular), an effort to get through.

The more affable side of the cast (Bill Nighy, Sturridge, Will Adamsdale, Chris O'Dowd) make the film impossible to hate but for every one of them, there's a less affable counter-part (January Jones, Nick Frost, Tom Brooke, Kenneth Brannagh) either playing a distinctly unlikable, out-of-place, character or filling out one of the many under-written roles, sucking out any and all of the little charisma and charm Curtis does muster. Disappointing, flat and lifeless: a music video with a higher quota of 'proper' actors than is usual in the genre.

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'the leakiest of vessels, destined to go down with all aboard' -


  1. I kind of loved it, if only because I was in a bad mood and it made me smile in its absolute pleasantness.

  2. Anecdotally, my perception is that this got a better reception in the US (as PIRATE RADIO) than it did in the UK. Don't have anything to back that up but that's certainly how it feels to me.

  3. I think because they cut, like, 20 minutes out of the US release.

  4. Really?! Didn't know that. Still can't see me enjoying it but that is very interesting indeed.