Rock band Mötley Crüe were not exactly known for their subtlety, and this excess-all-areas biopic of LA’s kings of spandex tells their debauched story in fittingly over-the-top 1980s style.
The band themselves – Nikki Six, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars and Vince Neil – take producer credits on the film, which ticks all the rock ‘n’ roll boxes in terms of groupies, drugs, punch-ups and trashed hotel rooms. A re-creation of the infamous incident involving Ozzy Osbourne snorting a line of ants is simply the icing on the Jack Daniels-sodden cake.
Machine Gun Kelly (credited here as Colson Baker) has the most fun as Tommy Lee, playing the drummer with a puppyish enthusiasm, and his “day in the life” scene rivals This Is Spinal Tap in terms of boneheaded brilliance.
Sadly, the female characters are more crudely drawn, generally cast as strippers, conquests and shrewish spouses, which takes the sheen off the knowing cartoon fun.
The inevitable lows that follow the band’s highs also feel clichéd (albeit particularly tragic in Neil’s case), but their inclusion does provide the necessary springboard to bring the story to its air-punching conclusion.
It’s plenty of fun when the mayhem is dialled up to 11, and The Dirt lives up to its name by being a grubby guilty pleasure.