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What there is of a storyline doesn't make much sense, but that's half the fun. Josh (Tim Robbins) is an aspiring moviemaker who has talent, but no ambition. His friend, Ivan (John Cusack) has PLENTY of ambition. After they lose their jobs as security guards, they decide to go into business for themselves. Unfortunately, their paying gigs are for funerals, and the only creative work they can find is "on spec."
Josh and Ivan idolize an old, out of work R&B duo, the Swanky Modes. When Josh and Ivan meet the Swanky Modes in a bar, they realize it's their golden opportunity. They just have to get the Swanky Modes back on stage...
One of my favorite scenes is in the bar, when they ask for another drink. The bartender intends to cut them off, and tells them they can't have another unless they can recite the alphabet backwards, with one eye covered, and in sign language. They get their drinks.
Throw in some Menudo jokes (if you don't remember Menudo, think five fourteen-year-old Ricky Martins), a Bruce Lee type catfight, and some truly hilarious videos, and you've got Tapeheads.
Sam Moore and Junior Walker pair up as the fictitious band "The Swanky Modes" adding a number of very soulful tunes to the soundtrack. To quote Josh & Ivan in the movie "We love the Swanky Modes."
Bottom line. This movie is great. You will laugh and laugh and laugh, then be amazed that Wierd Al is in the movie, then laugh and laugh...
If you're expecting non-stop, slap-stick hijinks ala Jim Carrey - you will be extremely disappointed.
This is a lot of subtle, dead-pan, insider humor - most of it requires some knowledge of the music industry, as others have said. I *do* find the film to be very funny - for me, it was one of those movies that you watched with a buddy, and then go around and incorporate lines from it for several years to come - actually, we still do.
It works from the aspect of being a buddy movie - two better "buddy" characters, in terms of believabilty, you'd be hard pressed to find. It also works as a film that creates this absolutely ridiculous world for these characters to live in - yet they generally accept that that's just the way things are - though there's a great scene where the characters look at the camera, as if to acknowledge the absolutely ludicrous nature of the situation to the viewer. Again - that's funny, to me.
As for the actual jokes, it's not going to be a movie that makes you shoot milk out of your nose - well, there are some parts that might - but it's still "funny" nonetheless. The characters are wonderful, the cameos are great, the writing and dialogue are sharp as a tack, and the performances are truly great from the entire cast - even down to the burned out rocker at the Menudo concert.
And the commentary track on the DVD was entertaining to me. It did explain most of what they were going for - most of which I got... though some of the stories about the set design were quite amusing, and had escaped me.
Then again, if you need a joke explained to you, is it funny?
Bottom line: A fun little indie-type film that remains subtle even while drowning in a sea of absolute nonsense.
Best advice: Go rent it first, if you're on the fence. If you like it, then I'd buy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It takes a certain sense of humor to really enjoy this film (and a passing acquaintance with the music and film industries definitely doesn't hurt). Highly recommended.Published 5 months ago by K. Crothers
Man, you can NEVER get enough of the Swanky Modes, (or Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles)! Ya Dig!Published 6 months ago by Vagrant
You get what you pay for with this one, which is kind of the point of the film.Published 13 months ago by Ramón Epstein
An unknown gem from two of our best American actors, done when they were both so young. Wickedly funny on so many levels, this will have you laughing from start to finish. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Patricia L. Gurney