The Rutles: All You Need is Cash

The Rutles: All You Need is Cash

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Back in the days when rockumentaries were unusual, pastiches of them - later popularised by the likes of This Is Spinal Tap - were rarer still, with The Rutles being one of the earliest examples. Based not-very-loosely on the career of The Beatles, the film started life as a series of songs on a BBC comedy, Rutland Weekend Television - originally devised by Eric Idle to celebrate all things Rutland, at a time when the UK government had decided to scrap the county.

Neil Innes, who never seems to get the credit he deserves these days, wrote a few jokey songs, based on the Beatles' work, including Ouch!, Love Life and Cheese And Onion - catchy little numbers in their own right - and The Rutles, consisting of the McCartneyesque Dirk McQuickly (Idle), the Lennonish Ron Nasty (Innes), the Starr-like Barry Wom (John Halsey) and the Harrison-a-go-go Stig O'Hara (Ricky Fataar) were born.

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And doubtless they would have remained a very British product were it not for Idle taking a couple of tapes across the pond to show on Saturday Night Live. The network loved them. Money changed hands and the result is All You Need Is Cash.

The film features cameos from Mick Jagger through to Bill Murray. It is a gentle mickey take of the Fab Four's career, from humble beginnings at The Cavern, Liverpool, to their split after Abbey Road. The pastiche romp is intercut with Idle, in sub-Monty Python mode, being, well, not very funny. It must be said that time has not been kind to this film.

Unless you know quite a bit about the Beatles' career, many of the gags will be missed, such as the spoof of the group's videos and Nasty having a shower-in for peace. The high points are probably those when Mick Jagger and Paul Simon talk about the band as though they actually exist. Its amazing how easily these people lie and also fun to wonder how much of what Jagger is saying really relates to the Beatles themselves.

This is one to help you reminisce over a hot cup of cocoa. If you prefer yoof bands and think the charts didn't exist before the Spice Girls, it probably isn't for you.

Reviewed on: 09 Nov 2002
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Pastiche rockumentary of The Beatles.
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