SameDiff BNL

Barenaked in America isn't very revealing

By CATHERINE JHEON, Infoculture, September 2000.

For those of you who heard of the Barenaked Ladies before the lyrics "Chickity China the Chinese Chicken" took them top of the charts in the U.S., Jason Priestley's documentary, Barenaked in America, will tell you nothing new about the band.

In fact, it leaves a lot out, such as the fact that BNL's American success is largely due to their new manager who put the guys on a rigorous and unrelenting tour of the U.S. And there's nothing on the personal lives of the band members. The documentary doesn't answer - let alone ask questions - about the dark side of being on the road.

Barenaked in America is not a poignant look inside a pop band or the juicy infighting because - surprise, surprise - the Ladies are really a bunch of nice guys with musical talent and a knack for silly, catchy lyrics.

Even when they're upset they're nice. The most titillating bit is when the drummer, Tyler Stewart and the bass player, Jim Creeggan admit to having some ill feelings towards each other in the past. Of course, now they love each other.

Barenaked in America retells the same tired stories that I'm sure everyone in Canada has heard. They're told by such Canadian "celebrities" as Moses Znaimer of the Citytv and so-called Canadian music guru Terry David Mulligan. There are appearances by talk show host Conan O'Brien and actor Jeff Goldblum.

For those who don't already know much about the group, the film is entertaining, with some good concert footage.