BAND ON THE SEARCH

1.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 92 minutes
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Gilbert Stark’s feature film mockumentary, Band on the Search, follows a rock band as they search for a new member. Founder and lead guitarist Robert (Joseph Wesolowski), abrasive showman Steven (Elliot Moon) and drummer Martin (Kevin Maggard) need to find a new bass player, and they’ve decided to film, with help from some community college film students, the audition process. What follows is just that, faux-documentary footage of the auditions, spliced together with general band nuttiness (usually due to the obnoxious nature of Steven).

Is the premise funny? In some points, yes, but the content doesn’t justify the running time. I mean, it’s a band looking for a bass player, and there’s going to be a laugh or two at the expense of the different personalities auditioning, but does that justify a feature film? I hate to call out this film by pointing out another one, but there’s a short film out there, Drummer Wanted, that did this idea to perfection years ago.

And no, I’m not saying that because that short film exists, no one should ever do anything similar. What I am saying is that the basic premise, if you’re going to expand that into a feature, had better be pretty spectacular. This is not.

For one, going with the mockumentary angle may seem like an easy way to make a film, but it puts an enormous focus on the writing and the performances, neither of which are this film’s strong suits. For example, the Steven character.

While Steven is obnoxious, annoying, sexist and racist by design, that’s practically all he is. Once he has worn out his welcome in your head, the rest of the film becomes painful, because he’s the go-to comic relief in almost every scenario. For me, that Steven saturation point came within the first ten minutes, meaning there was still eighty-plus minutes of annoyance to come, with little change.

Luckily the film mixes things up a little bit when it gets down to the final two bassists, and a chuckle or two are had, but for the most part the film just repeats the same old shit over and over again. For example, how many times can you go to the boom mic falling into frame and bouncing off someone’s head? Turns out, quite often.

Every once and a while, a film sums itself up with a quote from one of its own characters. In this case, while distraught over the auditioning process, Richard states that the auditions are like a Tarantino movie in that, “It starts out crappy, it continues to be crappy and it ends crappy.” And that’s pretty much how I feel about Band on the Search; it didn’t impress from the opening, hit its level of mediocrity and stayed there until the end.

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Posted on May 10, 2013 in Reviews by
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