In the seventies Strange Fruit were it. They lived the rock lifestyle to the max, groupies, drugs, internal tension and an ex front man dead from an overdose. Even their demise was glamorous; when lightning struck the stage during an outdoor festival. 20 years on and these former rock gods they have now sunk deep into obscurity when the idea of a reunion tour is lodged in the head of Tony, former keyboard player of the Fruits. Tony sets out to find his former bandmates with the help of former manager Karen to see if they can recapture the magic and give themselves a second chance.
Strange Fruit was a successful British rock band of the '70s, but their final open-air concert, held in 1977, ended in what their roadie, Hughie, Billy Connolly, calls 'divine intervention' - a bolt of lightning. Since then they've gone their separate ways but now, in the late '90s, they could all do with an injection of cash, so they're guardedly willing to be reunited. There's keyboard player Tony, Stephen Rea, who now has a condom concession in Majorca; guitarist-composer Les, Jimmy Nail, now a builder; flatulent drummer Beano, Timothy Spall, who lives in constant fear of the tax man and lead singer Ray, Bill Nighy, still long-haired and spaced out, who lives in a rundown stately home with his cranky Swedish wife. A youngster, Luke, Hans Matheson, fills in for their old lead guitarist who's Missing In Action. Now the Fruits are back in business...
This disarmingly enjoyable film, scripted by veteran comedy writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, is filled with likable characters and amusing situations in a story rather similar to The Full Monty - a bunch of men left on the scrapheap find a new reason to enjoy life. Filmgoers with nostalgia for '70s rock music should have a lot of fun with this unpretentiously delightful film, which is pacily directed by Brian Gibson.
Margaret's Comments: You can see the roots of Still Crazy in The Commitments and The Fully Monty, it's no surprise to learn that it was written by the screenwriters of The Commitments, Ian Le Frenais and Dick Clements who were also the Executive Producers. But it's predictability is slightly more than irritating. It's strength lies in the humour of the early part of the film and in the performance of Bill Nighy as Ray, not that the others in the ensemble cast aren't convincing, it's just that Nighy shines. Inevitably it's difficult to sustain energy after the band get together, the ennui sets in for them and us. Despite the sag Still Crazy strikes a feel-good tone and just enough craziness to entertain.