Richard Curtis’s Pirate Radio (Universal), a tribute to the pirate radio stations that broadcast rock and roll from the ships off the British coast when rock music (and, in fact, all pre-recorded music) was restricted on BBC stations in the mid-sixties, is a perfectly enjoyable comedy that never strays beyond its playlist of colorful personalities and comic antics.
There’s no political meat in its satire of the British government or any real story in the episodic succession of events, and its portrait of the (pop) culture of the time is really just a movie fantasy. But the cast (which includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost and Bill Nighy, who proves himself once again the funniest deadpan on Earth) is good company, the film has a killer soundtrack (the British title of the film is “The Boat that Rocked,” and it does) and you get to hear Kenneth Branagh (as the ultimate petty bureaucrat determined not to let anyone have any fun) say “Twatt” and “Clitt” (the unfortunate names of his immediate subordinates) repeatedly. As I wrote above, it’s episodic and there’s another 45 minutes of deleted episodes (not just cut scenes but complete sequences) in the supplements. The Blu-ray has a bunch of inconsequential bonus featurettes as well. I review it for MSN here.