Just for the Record review (DVD)

Contrary to the cover art, Just for the Record is not, I repeat not a gangster movie set in the East End of London. It is in fact a mockumentary about a British feature film that was, in no uncertain terms, a complete and utter mess. Focusing on a variety of stereotypical characters who all had something to do with the ill-fated production, the film is shot like a documentary presented by Andy Wiseman (Rik Mayall) that contains a variety of interviews and on-set footage (all fictional of course) to tell the story of the film-within-the-film disasterpiece that was Just for the Record.

Featuring a cast of prominent British actors and Danny Dyer, the comedy is a mixed bag of funnies, ultimately weakened by the profoundly cliched characters and audience alienation. The film is a little too intricate about the workings of the industry and I do not believe that those who aren't familiar with it, like casual film fans, are going to understand a lot of the gags, though even as someone who 'got' the movie, it never obtained a reaction out of me greater than a giggle. There's some funny stuff, but also a lot of rubbish.

Meet Dyer's character, the executive producer who wears a John Waters moustache and has a Terry Tibbs-like accent. It's a very different role for the man, but his performance leaves a lot to be desired after a somewhat refreshing first five minutes when you're recovering from the shock of seeing him as someone other than a gangster, after which his portrayal wears as thin as his moustache. Also in the fray of cartoonish characters are the cross-eyed screenwriter Flynn Beatty, the pretentious director Harlan Noble, who not only has a filmography that includes “Ninja Sharks”, but also a goatee that looks like “a Brazilian on his face”, to quote one of the better lines from the film, and Wilson Barnes, played by ex-The Bill star Billy Murray, a screen icon with a bit of a drinking habit. Yes, the cast are all as colourful as the language they use when explaining just what went wrong with the movie, from the rushed script that contained “Space Monkeys”, to the Director of Photography not having a clue how to use the cameras. Perhaps “mess” would be an understatement.

Just for the Record has a nice concept but the execution just isn't right. It's not bad, kind of fun, but totally forgettable. And once again, it is not in any way, shape or form about gangsters and blood and drugs. The distributor really screwed the film-makers over when they made the cover art, but thankfully it's reversible with a more fitting design. Hell, the shot of Dyer is licensed from another film entirely and he looks nothing like it in this one.

EXTRAS Nothing unfortunately, not even the trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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