The Boat That Rocked (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/04/2009

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 135 mins

Despite a terrific cast and a cracking ‘60s soundtrack, this overlong comedy-drama falls painfully flat, thanks to a non-existent plot, some badly judged character moments and a total absence of laughs.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Richard Curtis, The Boat That Rocked is set aboard a 24-hour pirate radio station in the North Sea in the 1960s. Tom Sturridge stars as 18-year-old Carl, who gets expelled from school and winds up aboard Radio Rock, where he's taken under the wing of his godfather, station boss Quentin (Bill Nighy) and his roster of music-loving DJs (including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost and Rhys Darby).

As Carl spends time with his new family, he comes to suspect that maybe his mother sent him there for a reason, though he's more interested in losing his virginity, whether with party girl Desiree (Gemma Arterton) or Quentin's sexy niece Marianne (Talulah Riley). Meanwhile, a pompous government minister (Kenneth Branagh) makes it his personal mission to shut down Radio Rock, with help from his dogged assistant, Mister Twatt (Jack Davenport).

The Good
The performances are superb and it's a treat to see this many talented actors and comedians on screen together – it's just a shame that the directionless script couldn't find anything more interesting for them to do. The film does rally for a crowd-pleasing finale, but by then it has long since outstayed its welcome, especially with its arse-numbing two and a quarter hour running time.

The Bad
The lack of plot would be fine if the jokes were any good, but the comedy is embarrassingly bad and relies on a series of juvenile jokes (e.g. Davenport's character being called Twatt) or characters behaving in unpleasant and frequently misogynistic ways. On a similar note, the film completely wastes Arterton, Riley, Emma Thompson and January Jones by giving them just a few minutes of screentime apiece.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Boat That Rocked is somewhat lost at sea, thanks to poor scripting and a painful lack of jokes. Good soundtrack though.

Film Trailer

The Boat That Rocked (15)
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Content updated: 24/03/2019 02:33

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