Written & Directed by Eric Idle
Starring Eric Idle, Neil Innes, Ricky Fataar, John Halsey
- Additional interviews
- Melvin (i.e. Idle) outtakes
- Alternate ending
Released by: Warner Brothers.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Rent it if you must.
The Rutles. A running gag that started sprinting, bringing together Python madman Eric Idle with the lovable musical whacko Neil Innes, and aiming them at a wonderfully large target: The Beatles. The 1978 mockumentary has what I guess would qualify as a cult following, since a lot of folks haven’t heard of it, but most who do love the damn thing. Now Idle has returned to bring us a sequel.
Only trouble is…it’s not really a sequel. The only person involved from the original is Idle, though Innes’ music does show up, of course. Basically the program consists of footage reworked from the original film, unused footage from the original film and interviews with celebs about The Rutles. So for those wanting to see the band return, they’re going to be disappointed. And this perplexes me. There’s nothing new about Pythoners cashing in. In fact, it’s an accepted and beloved tradition. My copy of the double CD Monty Python’s The Final Ripoff makes a point of admitting up front there’s very little new to be heard. John Cleese has made a career out of cashing in and we love him for it. So what the hell happened here?
The film clocks in at under an hour, is not in actuality a sequel, and is merely a rehash of the original. Why this wasn’t turned into a positive is a bit of a puzzler. Studios cash in even more than Pythoners, so how hard would it have been to release a special two-disc edition of the original. Hell, call it the “Unrated Edition” (which, as we’ve discussed here before, means that they didn’t bother to have the MPAA view any of the new stuff) and stick three more minutes in it. Remaster the audio. And throw everything else on Disc 2. People would have inhaled it and said thank you. But instead we’re balancing this thing on the bonus bits.
And there’s just not much here. There’s a slew of additional celeb interviews, and they range from unnecessary (Graham Nash) to unfunny (Kevin Nealon) to really weirdly unfunny (Garry Shandling) to disturbing (hearing Bonnie Raitt go on and on about her lust for the band and her trouser fixation is just…unnerving in a way I can’t quite relate to you). Even Steve Martin is there to fall flat. The best is Tom Hanks…who becomes very emotional when talking about the breakup of The Rutles–now that’s an actor, when even for a film such as this he can just turn it on. Jesus. There’s also some outtakes of Eric Idle as our intrepid interviewer that are hit or miss and an alternate ending that’s pretty much miss.
Like I said, the film is a bunch of stuff we’ve seen before stapled to a bunch of stuff that’s just not worth seeing for the first time. A better idea would have been the Uber Greedy Bastard Edition of the first film, which like I said, we probably all would have cheerfully plonked down coin for. But, alas, no one consulted me first. Rent it if you must.