THE BOAT THAT ROCKED (15)
LOVE Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis takes the helm for this nostalgic tale of friendship between the members of a pirate radio station, broadcasting from the North Sea in the mid-'60s.
The year is 1966, a golden era for rock 'n' roll in this country, but BBC radio plays a mere 45 minutes of pop music a day.
Thus, around 25 million listeners tune into pirate radio stations, which devote every waking (and sleeping) minute to music.
One such station is Radio Rock, under the captainship of Quentin (Bill Nighy, pictured right with cast members at the premiere of The Boat That Rocked at the Odeon Leicester Square, London).
The DJs are a motley crew of misfits with one thing in common: a passion for vinyl.
They include star DJ Gavin (Rhys Ifans), American rival The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and sarcastic and cruel Dave (Nick Frost).
Quentin's godson Carl (Tom Sturridge), who has recently been expelled from school, joins Radio Rock for the summer, in the hope that he might mend his ways.
Instead, the youngster embarks on a quest to track down his biological father, who could be one of the crew members.
Meanwhile, back in London, government minister Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) explores every legal loophole to shut down the pirate radio stations.
The Boat That Rocked certainly rocks and rolls to a thumping soundtrack which includes The Beach Boys, Jeff Beck, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Who.
However, the script springs a leak early on as Curtis attempts to juggle too many thinly sketched characters and gradually loses ballast under the weight of its own unfulfilled ambition.
As usual, Nighy pilfers most of the chuckles as a dapper man of loose morals.
STAR RATING: **