Film: The Boat That Rocked Director: Richard Curtis Link: IMDB Runtime: 129 mins So you go along to see a Richard Curtis film and you know what to expect.  Although they’re not every film fans cup of tea, lot’s of people like them and they are nothing if not consistent.  Until now. >His latest film, The Boat that Rocked, is a about a pirate radio station that transmits from an old fishing vessel in the 1960’s and the government minister trying to shut them down.  The setting is great, the music is of course amazing and it was an interesting and revolutionary time in British history, so it should work. But the trouble is it all feels a little familiar. There’s more than a whiff of Almost Famous about this film with the winsome teenage character of Carl deposited by his Mother on the boat to get on the straight and narrow with his Godfather.  Initially his journey seems to be about losing his virginity but awkwardly segues into a quest to find his father. However this is never properly resolved and adds nothing to the film. Speaking of Almost Famous, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (aka the best actor in the world) plays venerable DJ The Count, which is essentially a rehash of his Lester Bangs character from that film. Rhys Darby (Murray from Flight of the Chonchords) is the geeky DJ Angus, with the same New Zealand accent and awkward comedy of his TV character.  And Bill Nighy plays the rouge-ish Godfather with evident relish but the character is lifted straight from his aging pop star in Love Actually. The real stand out in the film though is Nick Frost who plays an amoral DJ dedicated to drink, drugs and women.  At first it’s a bit of a stretch to see him as the filthy ladies man of the boat but he pulls it off and is the only original character in the whole film. It took me a while to figure out what my issue with this movie is.  On the surface it is essentially entertaining, there are quirky off beat characters, rock and roll, rebellion and fabulous clothes.  But it all feels a bit hollow and the story is fractured and unfocussed.  The storyline of the government minister who is trying to shut down the pirate radio stations could have brought real tension to the film.  But for the majority of the film his actions don’t impact on the radio station and by the time the conflict is brought to a head the film is pretty much over and it seems deflated. I have read that the shoot on this film was long and the cast were encouraged to improvise which may explain some of the lazy nature of the storytelling.  But this approach leaves large gaps in the logic of the plot, for instance there is a large section of the film where the entire cast is present except for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who was off presumably filming some other Oscar nominated film.  These inconsistencies just add to a sense of a film that doesn’t know where it’s going. It’s a shame because I really wanted to like this film, and don’t get me wrong, there are some really funny moments, but it for some reason, despite the fantastic music, it lacks soul and I left the theatre feeling confused and a little disappointed. If you’re a fan of the music I’d say it’s worth a look but don’t expect too much.