Picks and Pans Review: Airheads

updated 08/22/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/22/1994 01:00AM

Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Steve Buscemi, Michael McKean

The only similarity between this lame pop-music-scene satire and its obvious role model, the widely esteemed This Is Spinal Tap, is that McKean appears in both films, in Spinal Tap as a haughtily ignorant rhythm guitarist and in Airheads as a haughtily ignorant radio-station program director.

Otherwise, this dead-end project is typified by the unimaginative, crass script by Rich Wilkes, in which Fraser proclaims the sincerity of his commitment to rock music by announcing, "I ain't just pulling pud here!"

The plot in this listless farce posits Fraser and his bandmates, Buscemi and Sandler, as a Los Angeles group so desperate for attention that they take over a radio station and stumble into holding its employees hostage until the band's demo tape is played on the air.

Fraser is joined in flagrant overacting by Joe Mantegna, who is about 40 years too old to be playing a heavy-metal disc jockey. Seinfeld's, Michael Richards is wasted as a station executive, as is Farley, playing a bumptious cop (though he does get to rip the nipple ring off one creep). The flimsy Judd Nelson has a few feeble scenes as a ruthless record-company executive. Amy Locane, as Fraser's feckless housemate, and Nina Siemaszko, as a ditzy radio-station secretary, have the only female parts with anything resembling substance. And the always anemic-seeming Buscemi, looking especially cadaverous and disengaged, could sink the band's hopes all by himself. In the be-thankful-for small-favors department, he, Fraser and Sandler sing only one song. (PG-13)

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