The faux-Britpop band gets the movie treatment. The music is great, but it’s just a quarter of the film.
By Jorge Ignacio Castillo
THE PLOT: Originally an homage to the Britpop bands that took North America by storm in the 60’s, The Cocksure Lads adopt a new shape as a faux-band on the verge of success. On tour in Canada, the moment they land in Toronto the Lads break up, following an ill-timed royalties negotiation courtesy of insufferable lead singer Dusty Fosterboard.
The foursome roams the streets of Toronto separately, undecided about cancelling a gig scheduled for later that day. As it happens in movies, each one of them has an encounter that enables them to face their own anxieties: Dusty’s obsession with monetizing his creativity, lead guitarist Reg’s musical snobbery, bass player Derek’s womanizing ways and drummer Blake’s obsession with cleanliness. Musical interludes throughout the film provide further insight on these characters’ psyches.
CRITIQUE: A pleasant, less-clever-than-it-thinks-it-is comedy, The Cocksure Lads Movie relays too heavily on the concept behind it. The idea of satirizing Britpop bands and their relationship with North American audiences has a lot of potential, but not much materializes here. The movie spends precious little time establishing the group before breaking it up, and the audience gets no good reason to be invested on the band’s faith.
Thankfully, the actors chosen to become the Lads are likeable or interesting enough to carry the film. Derek and Blake’s misadventures trying to pick up Canadian girls are not particularly original, but are amusing enough to look forward to those segments. On the flip side, Dusty’s encounter with an attractive musician who reminds him of the joys of being part of a band it’s condescending. The manic-pixie-dream-girl plot device is so five years ago
The musical bits are fun and the melodies are contagious. The film could have used more moments like those and less comedy of the “I’m good at sex because I studied anatomy” kind.
· Within the low-budget Canadian indie scene, The Cocksure Lads Movie looks impeccable.
· Peter Higginson as the Lads’ long-suffering roadie out-acts everyone else in the film, and provides the rare moment of genuine emotion.
· Overall, the songs show craftsmanship (no shocker here, they come from Great Big Sea’ Murray Foster and Moxy Früvous’ Mike Ford) and stand by themselves. “You Gotta Stay Cocksure” and “A Case of the Dropsies” and are sticky to a fault.
· The main plot point of the movie is that the band can’t continue without the lead singer. Problem is, Dusty is hardly a prodigy and at least two of the other members have serviceable voices, rendering the whole journey moot.
· There is no much complexity within the characters. Each one could be defined by a single personality trait.
· If the movie had excised every scene with the Lads’ agent in England, it would have been a step in the right direction.
RATING (CANADIAN CURVE): ***
The Cocksure Lads Movie is now playing at the Magic Lantern Carlton Theatre and the Kingsway Theatre in Toronto.