Even if you think the Quo are a bit of a one-joke band, this exhaustive chronicle of their history is an absolute hoot.
Alan G Parker's hulking, cover-all documentary on South London blues rock legends Status Quo not only presents them as possibly the loveliest, liveliest and most unpretentious rock musicians to have been coughed up from the '60s, but it stands as a fine cinematic testament to the power of the human memory.
Hilarious, cheeky, foul-mouthed testimonies from Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt form the narrative backbone for a film which chronicles the modern history of commercial rock, bringing in everything from drugs, drink and poorly judged denim advertising.
It also offers a human angle to stereotypical representations of rock excess, and Parker's film captures both the bittersweet feeling of looking back to past triumphs and the utter, unalloyed comic ridiculousness of rock 'n' roll myth making of the sort that Rob Reiner bottled-up in This Is Spinal Tap.
Taking on a fairly standard format of interviews and archive clips, the film is stuffed with dino rock doyens who aren't in there to just pronounce their love to the Quo, but offer detailed anecdotes which add to the richness of the overall story. And it's highly satisfying the way in which participants have almost identical recollection of tiny, throw-away moments, such as the time Parfitt put speed into Rossi's tea instead of suger.
There's much naughty business involving drunken nights with Rick Wakeman and dust-ups with roadies who "drink like other people breathe", but it all comes across as charming monkeyshines rather than after-hours nasty business. You even forgive them for their debauched, so-called "tax years" and their decision to replace their drummer with a machine.
And, militantly unintellectual it may be, their music sounds better and more energetic than ever, and the performance clips are fiery and passionate. They don't quite make you want to go out and buy the albums (though they have sold 120 million!), but it makes you want to spend a long afternoon in a country pub with Rossi, Parfitt and a flagon of nut-brown ale.
Oh lord... Really? And 155 minutes!
Good stories, quality archive footage, interesting interviews, great fun. And the music ain't bad either.
A charming, highly entertaining tale of rock excess.