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Taking Wood Stock


Stars: Demetri Martin, Liev Schreiber, Imelda Staunton, Henry Goodman, Jonathan Groff, Eugene Levy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Paul Dano, Kelli Garner, Emile Hirsch, Sondra James, Mamie Gummer, Dan Fogler, Richard Thomas, Skylar Astin, Katherine Waterston

Director: Ang Lee

Three words according to the title - and three days of peace, love, drugs and yawns. That's the nett result of this portrayal of how the 1969 festival, famous for its mud and hippie nudity, came into being.

With his family's 'international casino bar mitzvah center' - a few shacks in the middle of nowhere - seemingly on the verge of collapse, prodigal son Elliot (Martin) spots that a nearby community has vetoed a forthcoming music festival. Getting in touch with the old school friend (Groff) who was organising it, Elliot, to the indifference of his parents, (Staunton, Goodman) offers their land as a new site - with the addition of fields to be leased from a local farmer (Levy), who soon ups the ante from $5000 to $75000 when he learns the organisers are loaded.

Locals are agin it: 'They'll be robbin' us by day and rapin' the cattle at night', but the event, despite the lack of relevant permits, goes ahead. So far, so fun. Alas, the rest of the film is as disorganised as the festival itself. It just meanders, muddily and druggily, on and on.

Staunton has some OTT fun with the Jewish mom - 'It's OK until the day they don't need you. Then on goes the gas!' - but there are few sparks from the rest of a distinguished but undynamic cast.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
115 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 09 Nov 2009