ROCK 'N' ROLL is great. But no matter how powerful, majestic, or even life changing three chords and the truth can be, rock 'n' roll cannot save Pirate Radio. In fact, this limp comedy ensemble (tagline: "1 Boat. 8 DJs. No Morals.") might be the worst thing to happen to rock music since Limp Bizkit, the RIAA, and the Bob Dylan Christmas album—combined.
The film follows the madcap adventures of Radio Rock, a large, anchored vessel that broadcasts rock around the clock to the music-deprived shores of Britain. But the queen's government hates rock 'n' roll—with its Beatle boots, long hair, loose morals, and damn teenagers who won't get off of lawns—so, led by the cartoonishly villainous Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh, gnawing at the scenery), and his assistant named Twatt (Jack Davenport), they aim to crush the radio station, and rock 'n' roll, once and for all. (You're right: This movie was much better when it was called Pump Up the Volume, and not just because Samantha Mathis took her top off in that film.)
The over-the-top DJs that litter Pirate Radio are impressively annoying: There's Angus (a severely misused Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords), a precursor to the wacky Morning Zoo hacks, and the Count, a music-obsessed shock jock (Philip Seymour Hoffman, replaying his Lester Bangs role from Almost Famous with twice the cigarettes and half the conviction). There's also a subplot about teenaged Carl (Tom Sturridge), who doesn't do anything on the ship but look emo and attempt to lose his virginity. Oh, and his father disappeared the day he was born—what, I wonder, are the odds that his dad would be a DJ on this very ship?