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Stewart Nusbaumer

Stewart Nusbaumer

Posted: April 13, 2010 02:01 PM

Film Review: Do It Again

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Getting a hold of this film is like wresting an octopus. You are out-manned, with weird tentacles coming at you from every direction. Although its face is moronic looking, you sense the beast is smart and sneaky. And definitely slippery.

Do It Again is a documentary that focuses on a middle-age man, Geoff Edgers, and his attempt to reunite his favorite musical group, the Kinks, a rock group from the British musical invasion of the 1960s. A journalist working at Boston Globe, Edgers is determined to realize his dream of bringing the group together.

Wait -- that's a real slacker intro. I need to start over.

Do It Again is a documentary about journalist Geoff Edgers slammed by job insecurity and punched by a mid-life crisis -- the Big 40! Confronting the possibility of losing his house if not his sanity, Edgers copes with the stress and fear by morphing into a hilarious comedian who embraces the totally whacky idea of uniting a dysfunctional group of British misfits and pathetic screw-ups formerly called the Kinks.

Yes, that is better. But something bigger is going on with this celluloid octopus.

Do It Again is a documentary about the collapse of the American Dream and the desperate struggle of Americans to evade the middle-class barbecue, which those still with jobs call a recession. One precarious American, Geoff Edgers, a member of the torched profession of journalism, confronts the possibility of being burnt toast and flushed down the toilet of the American Nightmare by bending the boundaries of reality to embrace a whacky mission to reunite his favorite band, the Kinks.

That's a little better. Still -- oh, forget it.

The roadblock for Edgers to reunite the Kinks appears to be lead singer and chief songwriter Ray Davies, who is either totally nuts or a humongous ego blimp. Actually, he's probably both. When the band was together, Davies spent more time pounding on his brother Dave than playing his guitar. On the other hand, none of this really matters. Do It Again is really about the hunter, not the hunted. It's about Geoff Edgers stalking America and England to realize his dream of reuniting the four wackos.

Edgers is of course missing more than a few marbles himself. Sure the Kinks had a few big hits, but they were a second-tier group, and that is a kind evaluation. I lived through the 60s and beyond, and I don't even remember the group. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't remember any groups. Anyway, don't attempt to enlighten this heat-seeking missile programmed for mission target -- to reunite the four psychos -- that it's mission impossible and if possible then it's mission unworthy. There are times when one should just keep their mouth shut. Not that Edgers ever does.

The man is certainly self-absorbed -- he can't shut-up about reuniting the band -- but his self-absorption is not ego-driven. For instance, when requesting the assistance of established musicians -- Sting, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, Peter Buck, Zooey Deschanel, and eventually Dave Davies -- his insistence upon singing with them is not because of ego. It's the opposite. With ego blow torched by the American Dream slipping down the potty, self-defecation and embarrassing one's self have become quit natural in America. So with famous musicians, Edgers releases one of the world's most horribly screeching, scrawny voices. And he isn't disturbed in the least.

With a goal that lies somewhere between ridiculous and worthless, it occurred to me that Edgers may have a hidden objective, one cleverly concealed behind the Kinks mission. It could even be something truly grandiose. Such as attempting to undermine human rationality and the social order ... to turn us away from everything that made this country great -- well, before the middle-class was cooked by the rich. On the other hand, I might be giving Edgers too much credit. Regardless, the man does bring magic to the screen.

His refusal to bend to practicality and middle-class conformity and common sense had the strong and strange effect of skyrocketing the mood of the capacity audience at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, in Durham, North Carolina. Soon they were cheering for this man who was demanding life on his terms -- clearly an alien concept in modern America. About three-quarters the way through the film, the audience was radiating an odd glow. It had turned envious of the crazy man. By the end, Geoff Edgers had transformed himself into a cute poster boy for the mentally insane.

It's true, this man is dangerous to America as we know it.

Directed by Robert Patton-Spruill, Do It Again is a hilarious romp and clever distraction from a crumbling America and the middle class barbecue. In fact, this film is more. Like a sneaky octopus, it wraps you up, and when squeezing the laughter out of you, out flies a picture of your life. When leaving the theater, I couldn't help but think I had taken a wrong road in one of those forks of life. The road that does not laugh enough. The one that does not allow anything between the ridiculous and the worthless. And I thought, I need to work on that.

When it's time for a break, take a good one. Watch Do It Again.