Title: Get Ready to be Boyzvoiced
Director(s): Espen Eckbo, Henrik Elvestad & Mathis Fürst
Screenwriter(s): Espen Eckbo & Henrik Elvestad
Studio: Nordisk Film & TV (Egmont) Released: 2000
Runtime: 1h 30m
Starring: Espen Eckbo, Øyvind Thoen, Kaare Daniel Steen, Henrik Elvestad, Linn Skåber
My Verdict: Highly recommended mockumentary about a Norwegian boy band. Tightly written. Good performances. Hilarious songs. A modern classic.
● Get Ready to be Boyzvoiced is a Norwegian mockumentary about the fictional boy band Boyzvoice. The dialogue is mostly in Norwegian, although there is a little bit in English. The songs are mostly in English.
● Boyzvoice (sometimes stylized boyzvoice) is comprised of three brothers: M’Pete (Espen Eckbo), Roar (Kaare Daniel Steen) and Hot Tub (Øyvind Thoen).
● The film starts with M’Pete telling how they got noticed by their manager Timothy Dahle (Henrik Elvestad) at a talent quest held at some shopping mall back in 1996. From there, the narrative follows their career which obviously includes a few scandals.
● At 1h 30m, this film is arguably long for this kind of comedy but is nonetheless tightly structured. Every scene serves a purpose, whether it is to move the plot or at least provide a minor exposition. Signposting of later events happens very early on, both subtly and not so subtly.
● As part of the satire, like a real documentary, it makes some things more dramatic than how it actually happened. Most of it is just a parody of what is typically associated with pop music or celebrities in general like lip-syncing, misbehaving managers and dealing with underage fans, amongst other things.
● Also, there are gags in there that musicians and mixing engineers will appreciate.
● As a sidebar, some gags may be seen as insensitive by the woke on the one hand or, on the other hand, those who have recently found out about all the pedo stuff associated with the film and music industries because of the increased exposure in recent years. I cannot comment on the intent of the writers but the film just comes across as satirical because that’s the way things have always been. If someone is hyper-sensitive just because they found out this stuff six months ago, then that’s their problem. Besides, satire is one way or at least one step in dealing with the problem.
● As expected, the group hits rock bottom about halfway through the film. If one didn’t know the runtime, one may be tempted to think that is the end of the group (and the documentary). However, just like any intentionally over-dramatized documentary, the rest of the narrative is about their recovery.
● The songs are, as already mentioned, mostly in English. Keep in mind that this film was released in 2000 so the songs and/or music videos are parodies of the material at the time, including the likes of NSYNC, Britney and, of course, the Danish-Norwegian group Aqua. Music by Jens Thoresen and lyrics by Eckbo and Elvestad are brilliant.
● Although their English is perfectly understandable, some of the songs are obviously jokes about nonsensical English lyrics written by those who are not native-English speakers.
● Whilst Eckbo mostly looks the part, except maybe he is a few years too old, and Steen is presumably cast as the older-looking odd one out of the group, Thoen is perfect as he just looks like a handsome singer. In a way, it’s no surprise that he actually is the vocalist who performs most of the songs with Eckbo also providing vocals.
● The cinematography is executed well. There is just enough camera movement that is fitting to biographical documentaries but it is not pretentious. If anything, it can take it further as part of the satire. Either way, it looks like a real documentary. The music videos are mostly brilliant too. In some cases, there are obviously budget constraints but the setup, actors, lighting and camera work are mostly spot-on in replicating the feel of real music videos.
● The performances are good by the entire cast. Like some mockumentaries, Eckbo plays multiple minor roles in addition to M’Pete. Most of them make merely a brief appearance. Ove the 14-year-old fan features more substantially and Eckbo’s performance is quite convincing. One could almost believe it is not the same actor.
● Overall, it is a brilliant piece of work. It could even be considered a so-called modern classic. Is it funny from start to finish? It may not be laugh-out-loud from start to finish, but whether laugh-out-loud or not, it is funny throughout. If I have to nitpick, I would say that it can use one more song to break up scenes.
● In case some are wondering why this gem has been hidden all this time, I suppose it depends on which part of the world one is from. This does not seem to be available in the US, at least not in mainstream sources. In Australia, however, it is typically broadcasted once a year around the time of Eurovision on SBS (a channel that has a focus on foreign programs). Someone at SBS apparently has a sense of humor. Occasionally, some generous soul will load it up on YouTube.
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