Seven months after its theatrical release in the UK, and two months after its DVD debut there, Pirate Radio washes ashore with most of its better bits excised. Writer-director Richard Curtis, paying homage to the renegade '60s DJs spinning rock 'n' roll from ships anchored in the North Sea of England, now has a hodgepodge of scenes that amount to yet another movie about rebellious young men sticking it to The Man—this time with a tacked-on Titanic climax. The sinking ship here is Radio Rock, modeled after the real-life Radio Caroline, which sent ashore a nonstop soundtrack of the Kinks, Stones, Beach Boys, and the Who—all the music being ignored by state-sponsored radio. Among the ship's motley crew is Philip Seymour Hoffman doing his Lester Bangs again as a Yank DJ, and Rhys Ifans as the impossibly hep Gavin. Then there are the government henchmen who shake their clammy fists at the boat's "drug-takers, law-breakers, and bottom-breaking fornicators." But what do they find so offensive? Here are more than a dozen men charged only with playing music and talking dirty to Mother England in shifts, and they kill their time supping tea and playing a little banal truth-or-dare. The sex is polite, and there's not a whiff of dope. Only the music endures; not even so powerful a man as Curtis—maker of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love, Actually—can outmuscle rock 'n' roll.
Hoffman plays the cantankerous Yank abroad.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., Nov. 13. Rated R. 116 minutes.