- 17 Aug 21
Big screen adaptation of the cult sitcom does for garage what This Is Spinal Tap did for metal.
We waited a long time for cinemas to reopen, but there are now thankfully a slew of top class movies hitting screens, and the brilliantly funny People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan is right up there with the very best – indeed, for us, it’s the comedy of the year.
What makes the movie such a treat for music fans in particular is that it’s adapted from cult BBC series People Just Do Nothing, which followed the hilarious exploits of Kurupt FM – five blokes on the London garage scene, whose limited talents often don’t match their world-conquering ambitions.
In the new movie, out next week, the crew of MC Grindah, DJ Beats, Steves and Decoy – led by faithful manager Chabuddy G – have their musical careers revived when one of their tunes unexpectedly becomes a major hit courtesy of a surreal Japanese game-show. The quintet duly touch down in Tokyo, where they embark on a chaotic odyssey involving record company mishaps, disastrous TV appearances and plenty of wild partying.
Notably, People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan immediately takes its place alongside This Is Spinal Tap – which the creative team have acknowledged as a key influence – as one of the great music comedies. In the same way Rob Reiner’s (if you will) rockumentary sublimely captured the nuances and absurdities of metal, People Just Do Nothing offers a wonderfully humorous look at another musical subculture, capturing the idiosyncrasies – and occasionally just the idiocy – of UK garage with loving attention to detail.
While there are excellent performances from the trio of Allan Mustafa (MC Grindah), Hugo Chegwin (DJ Beats) and Dan Sylvester (Decoy), it’s the pair of Asim Chaudhry and Steve Stamp who take the acting honours as, respectively, Kurupt FM’s wannabe Svengali Chabuddy G and vibes man/drug mule Steves.
The boys’ very own Ian Faith, Chabuddy G – the archetypal wide-boy – has a hair-raising encounter with an airport official en route to Tokyo, with Chabuddy hilariously sweating it over his dodgy passport. This comedic high point is equalled later in the movie courtesy of Chabuddy’s rivalry with Kurupt FM’s Japanese manager Taka; whilst trying on a high-end suit in a Tokyo clothing store, Chabuddy awkwardly tries out some impromptu martial arts moves, almost knocking over a clothing rack in the process.
Steves’ perennial drug obsession proves similarly hilarious: surveying a tableful of pills before the trip, he notes that some of them are good for anxiety, which is helpful as the rest “cause intense anxiety”. And that’s just the tip of the comedic iceberg in People Just Do Nothing, with the boys’ hijinks in Japan – where they are known as the Bang Boys (“makes us sound like a paedophile ring”) – resulting in many more memorable moments.
More broadly, with the film drawing on such top-notch influences as The Office and I’m Alan Partridge, it’s a powerful reminder of the wicked wit and observational brilliance that makes British comedy so beloved around the world. To quote the immortal Tap, this is one to turn all the way up to 11!
- People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan is in cinemas now.