Sunday, July 18, 2010


(Shock Entertainment)

Picked up by Shock for release five years after it’s US bow, to coincide with the middling biopic, ex-bassist Vicki Blue’s insightful but plodding documentary tells a cautionary and occasionally surprising tale about teenage girls being caught in a get-rich-(and laid)-quick scheme devised by manager-producer Kim Fowley.

Edgeplay is essentially a home movie that uses almost every camera effect in the Final Cut Pro book to ineffectually spice up repeated footage of the girls – now in their late 40s – recanting barely remembered stories of their brief time in the spotlight. Blue labours over the member’s recollections; drummer Sandy West, guitarist Lita Ford, singer Cherrie Curry often tell the same story in succession, dulling any impact considerably particularly given that so little footage of the band is included and almost avoids actual discussion of the music. The most glaring failing in this intensely well-meaning documentary is the omission of the film to include any actual music by The Runaways due to the ban enforced by chief songwriter Joan Jett who appears in the film only in grainy flashback.

One thing Edgeplay does well is documenting their stories; clearly, Blue has earned the trust of the other deservedly jaded ex-members. Especially poignant is that of Sandy West who, in the film’s most interesting section, details her life after the dissolution of the band and despairs the band’s inability to reform, repeatedly asking a very reasonable ‘why not?’ Adding to the emotional impact are interviews with her mother who would sadly outlive her daughter who died from lung cancer months after the film’s release.

As a documentation of also-rans of music history, this is an interesting addition to its field, and somewhere between Edgeplay and The Runaways is a great story waiting to be told, but, like The Runaways’ career, the film reeks of missed opportunities.

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