First of all, let's just clarify something: "This Is Spinal Tap" is the funniest film ever made. So it's a welcome return to the big screen for David St Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel, and Derek Smalls 16 years after their first visit.
For those who don't know the story of the Tap (and how dare you not?), here it is: director Marti DiBergi (Reiner) is making a documentary about British heavy metal group Spinal Tap. Tap consists of St. Hubbins (McKean) on vocals, Tufnel (Guest) on lead guitar, Smalls (Shearer) on bass, backed up by a keyboardist and drummer. They are also managed by the barely competent Ian Faith (Hendra). Out in America on a countrywide tour, the band find their popularity waning, with gigs cancelled and finding themselves as support for a puppet show.
But what the actors (who also wrote the script and music) do so brilliantly is lampoon, in intimate detail, every rock cliché there is. There's the nagging girlfriend, backstage problems, technical mishaps, all of which doesn't help the fact that the lads have less-than-average IQs.
So realistic is it, in fact, that the story goes Iron Maiden stormed out of the British premiere, convinced they were the model for the group.
Superb performances and writing guarantee at least two good laughs for every scene, which sets the standard for comedy. For newcomers, it's essential viewing, while old hands will relish the return of Nigel and his mournful "Mach" piano piece and the band's gig at the Air Force base. Whoever you are, you'll be quoting the script for weeks to come.