This Is Spinal Tap (1984) - Synopsis

This is Spinal Tap (1984)

"It's such a fine line between stupid..." - David

"... And clever." -- Nigel

This is Spinal Tap's first tour in America in years but instead of playing the giant arenas they remember, the band is booked in smaller venues. Their first concert, in New York, is a smash, followed by a gala party hosted by Sir Denis Eton-Hogg (Patrick MacNee), president of Polymer Records and distinguished befriender of pale young boys.

The new album Spinal Tap came to American shores to promote is being held back from record stores on the grounds that its cover art - as record company representative Bobbi Flekman (Fran Drescher) explains, "greased naked woman on all fours with a leash and dog collar around her neck with a man's arm extended out... holding on to the leash and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it" - is held back from record stores on the grounds that its cover is sexist to which Nigel asks: "What's wrong with being sexy?"

The group is received well at their initial shows - that is, if their balky stage props don't malfunction, if the band can find its way to the stage from their dressing rooms or if the gig hasn't been canceled. But the tour supporting their 12th album, Smell The Glove brings them one disaster after another. Fans don't show up for autograph sessions at record stores; radio stations relegate them to the "where are they now" file; and to top it all off, David's girlfriend Jeanine (June Chadwick), the band's Yoko Ono, arrives and starts contributing her ideas, such as having the band dress in zodiac creature costumes and recording their music "in dobly" - forging a rift not only with their manager, Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) but also between "closer than brothers" bandmates Tufnel and St. Hubbins.

The band's flagging spirits are briefly revived by an old kinescope of their first television appearance - when they were known as the New Originals (their first name, the Originals, was already taken by another London band) - wearing Beatles suits and Prince Valiant haircuts, singing their initial hit, "Gimme Some Money."

Their show-stopper, a spectacular tone poem set against the mystic monuments of Stonehenge - complete with dancing druid leprechauns - is wrecked when the massive stone tableau they ordered from a designer (Anjelica Huston) turns out to be a diminutive 18" due to a minor drafting error.

But even with all this trouble, the band feels things will pick up if they can just get their new album, "Smell the Glove," released -- but when it finally does appear it's in a black record sleeve with no identifying marks whatsoever. The band eventually sinks so low as to be billed second to a puppet show at a theme park.

The tour that began in the spirit of friendship, hope and confidence has become a joke. They will meet their final commitment, a farewell concert in Santa Monica, and unless a miracle happens, Spinal Tap will be no more.

But even in the frenzied world of rock, miracles do happen.