Shut Up & Sing

Opens at Meridian, Fri., Nov. 17. Rated R. 93 minutes.

Not quite the Bush bashfest its publicity might lead you to believe, Shut Up & Sing is closer to the Metallica movie Some Kind of Monster than to Fahrenheit 9/11. Like Metallica, the Dixie Chicks begin the movie as a multiplatinum band looking to move their sound forward on a new album, only to have external circumstances throw a wrench into the works and make things go in a vastly different direction than anyone expected. The political angle is the film's hook, but its real goal seems to be to persuade non–country fans who support the band's politics that, hey, y'know, their music's pretty good, too. And we see how the controversy both helped and hurt, gaining the band national magazine covers and unprecedented crossover exposure, even as they were systematically shut out of country radio/TV and lost substantial U.S. ticket sales. It's easy to look at these lovely ladies for 93 minutes; that they have fantastic vocal chops is a major bonus, and their disdain for Mr. Bush is merely icing atop a significantly layered cake. LUKE Y. THOMPSON

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