Sex – yes, I’ve tried it, but the latest research finds our parents did it more and enjoyed it more. Don’t you find that hard to take? Drugs- not really. Rock & Roll – not my cup of tea.
I guess I’m not fitted for this biop of singer Ian Dury played by Andy Serkis. Well, let us pop to near the end. Mr Dury returned to talk to the other spazzies (his world and his word, not mine) in the institution he attended as a boy after contracting polio whilst swimming, he described himself more as an entertainer rather than a singer. Yeh, I’ll go with that. His songs were shite, but in the language of rhyming couplets, the kid was alright.
Serkis doesn’t try and mime Ian Dury he tries to possess him and he succeeds. He’s a loveable cunt, who likes -and you guessed it – sex and drugs and rock and roll, but not necessarily in that order. Time is mucked about, sliced and diced. In the opening scene he’s onstage with his younger self in one of those iron lungs, a boy with his head sticking out, not looking for pity, or love, just to be normal like everybody else. Then it cuts to Ian Dury’s front room. He sacks the drummer – Ian likes to play drums himself and nobody ever matches the standards he sets himself. Into this broth of noise and fury cuts Olivia Williams, who plays his wife. She’s just given birth to his son, popped him out like an overgrown melon and Mrs Dury hands the boy to Mr Dury. ‘Look what you’ve done now – you cunt’ is his response, holding the baby up like a weapon to the sacked drummer. Soon he’s cooing over the baby. Serkis treats life a hurdles he needs to jump over to grasp success. He’s more antagonistic than protagonist.
Ian charms Denisse Rouette (Naomie Harris) this way. They meet in a grotty bar. He’s all angles and chat, the lead singer of a band that could start a fight in an empty toilet and she’s young and very beautiful with an Afro hairstyle that could fill a room.
Ian leaves his wife and moves in with Denisse. They do the sex bit. The drugs bit and the rock and roll bit come later. Their fun is spoiled, temporarily, when Mrs Dury wife sends their son Baxter (Bill Milner) to live with Mr Dury. But the boy fits in by becoming a little Ian, a little arsehole. When I should have been concentrating on the music and the dramatic moves I couldn’t help thinking how much noise Ian Dury would have made in the block of flats they stayed in. If he’d have stayed anywhere near me I’d have wanted to toss him off the top floor.
The final act plays out Ian’s success. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Ian and the other Blockheads found it difficult to concentrate on music, which, as a neutral rock and roller, perhaps saved us from other such hits and a compilation album. Entertaining enough — if you like that kind of thing.