This is Spinal Tap is a documentary that showcases the rise and the fall and the rise of England's greatest musical artists, the legendary Spinal Tap.
The band is on an American tour, facing problems with a dwindling fan base as well as a lack of support from their label who finds their latest album cover misogynistic. Covering the tour is a documentarian, Marti DeBergi (director Rob Reiner) who wants to portray to the world what Spinal Tap is really all about.
If you now rush out to buy Spinal Tap's catalogue, you've been living in a cave the last few years. The band is entirely fictional, and movie, yep---you guessed it, is a satire on such bands.
What makes This is Spinal Tap fun is that the film is played entirely straight. Even the band, who are supposed to be free-living rock stars, always seem very sombre. As a result, their actions are all the more hilarious and this type of humour imbibed in the film is what makes it work. There's a hilarious scene where the band members (who are a bit slow in the upper deck) get lost trying to find the way to the stage and wander around the backstage area shouting "hello Cleveland!" The clever ways that former members of the band are dispatched is good for a few chuckles. Other classic scenes include a concert in the Lindberg airfield near Seattle, and the Stonehenge/midget debacle.
Spinal Tap can represent any cock-rock band, from bands in the 70s like Deep Purple (featuring Ritchie Blackmore, a talented but temperamental guitarist with a penchant for smashing cameras) and Led Zeppelin, to hair bands in the 80s such as Poison or Cinderella or Warrant. The movie is more than a mocu-mentary about the lifestyles of rock bands--it is a satire of the entire industry as well the notion of a rocu-mentary. The straight-faced DeBergi (and consequently, Reiner) is not only making fun of all the self-important rock bands, but also people who glorify them in the form of "documentaries".
Make sure you check out This is Spinal Tap in a theatre with Dubly stereo, where the volume can be turned all the way up to 11 (just to give it that edge no other stereo system has).