“Can’t Stop the Music” (1980)

I admit that I only know about this film because Rob Kozlowski included the movie poster in his “Movie Poster of the Week” series. And a film starring the Village People and Steve Guttenberg is going to pique your interest someway.

Can’t Stop the Music is the pseudo-biography of the formation of the Village People. Jack Morell (Steve Guttenberg) is a songwriter that decides at the beginning of the film to quit his day job as a record store clerk and roller skate his way to freedom. His roommate, Samantha (Valarie Perrine), has an ex-boyfriend that’s a record executive at Marrekesh Records (Paul Sand). Samantha decides that Jack’s vocals won’t work on his songs and recruits a friend, Felipe Rose (the Indian), a construction worker named David Hodo, and Randy Jones (the cowboy), whom she finds while walking through Greenwich Village. Meanwhile, Ron White (Bruce Jenner), a lawyer from St. Louis, shows up after being mugged by an old woman to a party to hear the trio together. The group later has auditions at White’s law firm, where they find tollbooth worker Glenn Hughes (the leatherman) and Alex Briley, the G.I.. The group then rehearses in the YMCA, which causes the film to turn into a music video that is one of the most homoerotic things I’ve ever seen, but I’ve seen more homoerotic things. They then go through some struggles, like in all films about bands, before finding success.

The key problem with Can’t Stop the Music is that it tries to tell a semi-fictitious story while being barely believable. With this film, we’re made to believe that Felipe Rose spends all day in formal Native American ceremonial clothing and that a lawyer from St. Louis would be as naïve as White. Perhaps things like this, as well as how Jack, a songwriter, ended up sharing a palatial place with Samantha, an ex-model, were easier explained back in the 1980s. Maybe not.

But one of the film’s stumbling blocks is Samantha and her relationships with men. The music executive is her ex, but she’s still flirting with him. And her and Ron are in a relationship, which is started after some lasagna is spilled on his pants, which results in his pants being taken off by her and Jack, and eventually Sam and Ron have sex. Throughout the film, her relationship with Ron and the music executive becomes a B-plot that starts to feel placed there to create some dramatic tension.

The unfortunate part about this film is that it’s like a musical where you keep eagerly awaiting the musical numbers because they’re so much better than what’s in between. (This is also how I feel about the typical episode of Glee. But the musical numbers in this “musical comedy” are uninteresting most of the time, although the music is very catchy.

That being said, I still have no desire to watch Xanadu.


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