(1978)4Mark DemingYou don't have to be a Beatles fan to enjoy All You Need Is Cash, though it certainly helps. Co-writers and directors Eric Idle and Gary Weis ruthlessly and hilariously parody the style of biographical television documentaries, and anyone who has ever watched A&E's Biography will be able to recognize the same clichés more than 20 years down the line. But, just as importantly, Idle and Weis know the details of the Fab Four's career and take tremendous glee in twisting them into new comic shapes, and songwriter Neil Innes has created a handful of songs that brilliantly turn the Beatles' greatest hits inside out (it's a shame more bands haven't had the nerve to cover "I Must Be in Love," "Doubleback Alley," or any of the other songs featured in the film, which happen to be great pop tunes in their own right as well as skillfully executed parodies). But while the touch isn't always light and the tone isn't always gentle (thankfully this was made while John Lennon was still alive and Innes could parody his well-documented mean streak without cries of disrespect to the dead), All You Need Is Cash is satire done with tremendous affection for its subject. It's worth noting that Innes was a former member of the group the Bonzo Dog Band, who appeared in Magical Mystery Tour and whose only hit single, "I'm the Urban Spaceman," was produced by Paul McCartney (under the pseudonym "Apollo C. Vermouth"), while Idle was close friends with George Harrison, who makes a cameo appearance as a reporter. The film also features several contemporaries and admirers of the Beatles, including Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, and Ron Wood, all of whom have been affected in some way by the Beatles' influence. Presenting a bizarro-world version of the biggest and best pop group of all time, All You Need Is Cash is a rock version of a Friar's Club roast -- a sharp poke in the ribs, with love and respect in its heart.
releases for The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash on AllMovie