Just as there is a swelling clan of crackpot promoters whose get-rich-quick schemes go as far as sticking the word ‘competitive’ in front of any pursuit, there exists a corresponding group of filmmakers who are always on hand to mop up the results with their buzzing mini-DV cameras. Alexandra Lipsitz’s film is just such an enterprise, a nuts-and-bolts document of the annual Air Guitar World Championships which take place in the rural outpost of Oulu in Finland. We’re introduced to a predictably endearing set of Spandex-clad (and generally greasy) ‘characters’ who believe that pretending to twang along to some noodly ’80s pomp-rock in front of a crowd of inebriated yahoos amounts to performance art.
The film’s raison d’être comes with the realisation by two young men that the US has never fielded a competitor in this, er, sport and follows their desire to get one of their boys up on stage to claim glory for Uncle Sam. Sadly, it’s a joke that runs out of steam, with Lipsitz missing tricks a-plenty, such as what a psychologist would make of a person like Dan ‘Björn Türoque’ Crane, who has dedicated his life to the activity. Sure, the film comes swaddled in super-sized quote-marks, but there is the sense that some of the protagonists do take it a bit too seriously. The only dissenting voice comes from a CNN news anchor who describes a snippet of performance footage as, ‘One of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.’