SIFF 2010: Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll **1/2

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 22, 2010)

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is a frenetic and cacophonous biopic that attempts to paint a portrait of the late proto-punk rocker Ian Dury…with rather broad strokes. Andy Serkis does do an amazing job at convincingly affecting the polio-twisted physicality and equally twisted persona of the man who gave us classics like “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick”, “Spasticus Autisicus” and the eponymous anthem, which has also become an oft-repeated catchphrase.

Despite some rousing music numbers and a vastly entertaining Serkis (playing his gruff-voiced Dury like a cross between Joel Grey’s emcee in Cabaret and Robert Newton’s Long John Silver in Treasure Island), director Mat Whitecross (who seems heavily influenced  by Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz) and screenwriter Paul Viraugh never quite get a handle (or a rhythm stick?) on what it was that made Dury tick.

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