SameDiff BNL

Barenaked In America


If all you know of the Barenaked Ladies is their unbearably catchy No. 1 hit single "One Week," you might be surprised to hear that this Canadian band of merry pranksters has an entire repertoire of witty, wackily addictive tunes. Then again, perhaps not. Actually, only die-hard fans will find something of interest in Beverly Hills 90210 alum (and fellow Canuck) Jason Priestley's rockumentary love letter to the group. While there's little doubt that no one was expecting Priestley to deliver The Last Waltz, there isn't enough insight or drama in his film for even half of a VH1 Behind the Music segment.

Barenaked in America follows the five fun-loving band members - Ed Robertson, Steven Page, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, and Tyler Stewart - on their 1998 "Stunt" tour across America. In between shows, they recount their evolution from Toronto street buskers to arena headliners. There are some groovy mod title cards; silly cameos from celebrities Jon Stewart, Jeff Goldblum, Conan O'Brien, and Andy Richter ("[The Ladies] had the gall to unseat Loverboy as Canada's premier rock band"); and the somewhat disturbing revelation that the band likes to cavort in the buff on the tour bus. At their trenchant, tuneful best, the Barenaked Ladies take flip comic spins on serious subjects (alcoholism, heartbreak). But offstage, they have nothing of substance to reveal.

Rating: 2½ stars (of 5).