"A Mighty Wind’ plays more like a gentle breeze
For years, VH-1 has been showing music lovers the gut-wrenching, coke-sniffing details of what happened to their favorite rock stars.But chances are most people don’t wonder what happened to the folksy one-hit wonders or the duos, trios, quartets and so on that harmoniously – or not so harmoniously – stuck together through the 1960s folk frenzy.Apparently, the real stories of folk has-beens aren’t compelling enough to warrant their own documentary, but at least one person -director Christopher Guest – found the subject juicy enough to make a fake documentary.”A Mighty Wind” is Guest’s fourth satirical film (the others were “This Is Spinal Tap,” “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show”). You’d think by now his biting wit would race along at a nice clip, but somewhere along the line, the wind blew out of his sails, causing the “mockumentary” to become a gentle breeze of chuckles but nothing that really rocks the boat.The story begins with folk promoter Irving Steinbloom’s children organizing a concert to honor their late father. This alone could have provided an ocean of comedy by developing the siblings’ characters and relationships more (Guest halfheartedly attempted). Imagine the possibilities: a peace-loving, “Father Knows Best” folk lover with a latent anger problem raises an ’80s-era, hair-band sex symbol strung out on crystal meth, a pot-toking, intellectual beatnik and an -I don’t know – ex-Enron executive.But Guest did a good job with the has-been folk singers. The New Main Street Singers look like a cheerleading squad in their bright yellow-and-turquoise suits as they confess their dark secrets on camera: The lovely blonde was a porn queen, one male singer suffered “musical abuse” as a child and the pig-tailed cutie lived on the streets until the group saved her. Plus, the incessantly upbeat group maintains its positive vibes with a colorful new age technique.The Folksmen trio throws out a handful of fun one-liners, but in general, they’re as forgettable as they were after their big hit, “Eat at Joe’s.”Mitch & Mickey, the ’60s sweethearts, command dramatic attention throughout the movie. Mitch hasn’t been quite right since their breakup, leaving him with a permanently mumbling, confused, wide-eyed reaction to the world around him- much like Ozzy Osbourne (at least Ozzy still has Sharon – imagine how much worse he’d be without her, and you’ve pictured messed-up-but-lovable Mitch).Guest had a good thing going with his quirky ’60s characters, but he dropped it about three-quarters of the way through the movie.Near the end, the film turns into a PBS-style folk concert, and even his attempt at humor by making the audience cluck like chickens and neigh like horses isn’t far-fetched enough to warrant a belly laugh.Then again, if you like the PBS folk concerts, you probably won’t mind the last half-hour of “A Mighty Wind.”
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