After sitting on a Warner Brothers shelf for over a year, "The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch", the much-anticipated sequel to Eric Idle and Gerard Corvin's 1978 mockumentary, is finally on release, revealing the final exploits of The Rutles as they do a reunion tour of America. Documentor Dirk McQuickly (Eric Idle) interviews many artists and personalities who were inspired by the legendary band, from David Bowie to Tom Hanks.
Based on one horrible fan review I'd read before renting this "follow-up" to the first RUTLES film, I was prepared for the very worst. So it turned out that I was relieved to discover that, while RUTLES 2 is surely not in the same class as the original, it does have its funny moments despite some of the gags becoming repetitious (like Eric Idle's reporter constantly winding up in the wrong country for his interviews again and again and again). And while it's also not as polished as the original, I wouldn't consider this a total washout.
The biggest disappointment came when I quickly realized that this was NOT in any way, shape or form an actual "sequel" to the first movie. I had expected that the original cast had been reunited to make a new story of the further adventures of the Pre-Fab Four in their later years. But what CAN'T BUY ME LUNCH really is, is an "alternate" version of 1977's THE RUTLES: ALL YOU NEED IS CASH. Meaning that it's the same basic story of the origin and successes of Dirk, Nasty, Stig and Barry all over again, but this time substituting a lot of previously unseen/unused footage from '77 along with some new songs that were never included the first time around, even though they're featured on our Rutles CD's. Some of the footage is actually pretty decent, and I'm surprised it didn't make the original cut.
To compliment the footage, there are new humorous interviews and muddled Rutles memories with more up-to-date celebrities: Steve Martin, Bonnie Raitt, Jewel, Gary Shandling, Conan O'Brien, Robin Williams, David Bowie and Carrie Fisher. Also on hand is Tom Hanks, who seems to go out of his way trying to be a part of Beatles-related topics (he also participated in a Monty Python skit in the CONCERT FOR GEORGE, in 2002). Hanks is quite funny, as are Steve Martin and Gary Shandling. I liked the bits with the "Triangular Album" and the "Shite" record.
For all the die-hard Rutles Fans out there, I'd say RUTLES 2 is worth one watch, at the very least. Maybe as a rental first to see if you think it's worth buying (I haven't decided yet). Because there are still some new laughs there, even if they're not as huge as they were in 1977. I can't imagine anyone who knows ALL YOU NEED IS CASH by heart not getting at least a few chuckles with RUTLES 2. But just don't expect too much. ** out of ****
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