This Is Spinal Tap | Chicago Reader

This Is Spinal Tap

Rated R 82 minutes 1984

Rob Reiner's 1984 satire on rock documentaries has the deadly verisimilitude of a Harvard Lampoon magazine parody: every cliche is in place, from the grainy kinescopes of Spinal Tap's Mersey Beat beginnings to the rambling, vapid between-tunes interviews. The material is consistently clever and funny, though ultimately the attitudes are too narrow to nourish a feature-length film. Though Reiner has wisely introduced the elements of a plot toward the end (the breakup of the band as engineered by the lead singer's calculating girlfriend), 82 minutes is still a long haul for a film defined only by derisiveness. The cast is largely composed of Reiner's sitcom buddies, each reveling in the opportunity to be hip: Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Howard Hesseman, Paul Shaffer, Fred Willard.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Rob Reiner

Writer: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner and Harry Shearer

Producer: Karen Murphy

Cast: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, R.J. Parnell, David Kaff, Tony Hendra, Bruno Kirby, June Chadwick, Fran Drescher, Joyce Hyser, Vicki Blue, Paul Benedict, Patrick Macnee, Billy Crystal, Fred Willard, Ed Begley Jr., Zane Busby, Howard Hesseman and Paul Shaffer


This Is Spinal Tap

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