As the saying goes, if you can remember Woodstock, you weren't there. Forty years later the same test applies to the lackluster Taking Woodstock, which fades from memory moments after you leave the theater. The comedy is based on the true story of Elliot Tiber (Martin). Stuck trying to make ends meet while running his Russian parents' fleabag Catskills motel for the summer, he decides to woo the large music festival that's looking for a home. He convinces his neighbor Max Yasgur (Levy) to rent out his 600-acre farmland for the gig, and soon the money—and the hippies—are rolling in.
Some of the preparations are amusing, but when the festival finally gets underway, director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) presents a neutered Woodstock that seems about as groundbreaking as a game of canasta. Lee's biggest mistake is in casting stand-up comic Martin, so inert onscreen that he often seems to disappear. He's outacted at every turn by a spry supporting cast, especially Staunton as his batty mom and Schreiber as a cross-dressing ex-Marine. But not even they can help Woodstock get its groovy back.