New Movie, uh, Wednesday: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

The Ian Dury biopic opens  with a bonkers cartoony sequence of Dury (Andy Serkis) being driven around in his van, picking up members of his band and looking worryingly like Gary Glitter (complicated sideburn topiary and mag-quifficent hair). He begins narrating from the stage, addressing us as if we were in the stalls, rapt children being Told A Story.

We’re flashed back and forth through Dury’s early life: polio, largely absent dad, tyrannical schoolmaster; then his middle life: family, mistress, lyrics, the Blockheads, punch-ups. He’s charming, sexy, and a complete selfish arsehole to everyone.

I’m approximately the 7895th person to say this: Serkis fills the screen; it seems to be all he can do to not act everyone else off it. The physical resemblance is startling; during one underwater scene, you get a lingering glance at the hard graft – no makeup or CGI - that’s gone into creating a withered left side of the body, versus a strong right side.

Criticisms? Dury’s long-suffering mistress Denise (Naomie Harris) eventually leaves Ian, after being made to wear the same wretched t-shirt for about ¾ of the film. Hello, wardrobe?!

Also, I could have done without the cheese-on-toast musical montage of them setting up home to Wake Up And Make Love With Me. Little is said about his childhood home life and time at art school, so you get the feeling only his disability and daddy issues made him what he was.

Also, it’s very much his show, and everyone else is just a bit-player; the women/children/fellow musicians in his life don’t have much to do except be utterly in love or totally exasperated with him. So while Ian’s character was fully-fleshed out, everyone else’s just felt like cardboard cutouts.

‘Sex & Drugs’ cracks along at a right old pace before coming to a rather abrupt halt, but while you’re along for the ride it’s funny and full of heart. The subject is clearly taken seriously, but handled with a deft, playful touch. I enjoyed it, and I knew next to nothing about Ian Dury except that ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’ was waaaay funkier than it had a right to be. So if you actually like his music, ‘Sex & Drugs’ comes highly recommended.

Today's post was written by Georgina, a professional copywriter and amateur novelist. She has an IQ of 172 (seriously), is smug about being a member of MENSA and has been described as the intellectual Pam Grier (by me). You can read her random musings on her blog: The Girl With The Golden Mind, or follow her on Twitter @chinablue79

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