PARK CITY, Utah — The description seemed deliberately vague: “After the boys leave the party …”
That was how Adam Yauch described his Sundance entry “Fight for Your Right Revisited,” a short film that tells the story of what happened to the Beastie Boys following the events of their 1987 music video of the same name.
We knew Elijah Wood would play Ad-Rock, Seth Rogen would portray Mike D and Danny McBride would slip on a leather jacket to become Yauch’s MCA. But would the short be a music video? A more traditional comedic exploration? No one seemed to have a clue.
Even McBride and Wood didn’t know what the heck the short was all about when we caught up with them before the Sundance premiere on Thursday night. “I’m just as curious as you are what this is going to be!” McBride laughed.
Not long after we chatted with the cast, MTV News sat down to take in “Fight for Your Right Revisited,” and now we can finally answer those lingering questions (beware of spoilers below).
The short film, which runs about 20 to 25 minutes, is part music video, part improv-heavy comedy. It begins directly after the conclusion of the ’87 video, with the Beasties crawling out of the party-mad apartment in a cloud of smoke, the original tune playing in the background. They head down the stairs and immediately run into the parents of the kids whose party they crashed. Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci play the parents.
From there, Rogen, Wood and McBride head out onto the New York City streets — the film was apparently shot in three days on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles — looking to keep the party going. They bust into a bodega, steal a couple six-packs of beer and head back out. At that point, the short transforms into a music video, with the Beasties rapping into the camera and guzzling beer as they walk.
“It felt super cool,” McBride told us earlier. “The moment you start rapping into a fisheye lens, you realize you’ve been training for it your whole life.”
The film continues to alternate between music video rampages and dialogue-heavy comedic scenes. It’s also overflowing with a staggering number of celebrity cameos. One of the short’s biggest takeaways — beside the fact that the Beasties can still deliver top-notch tunes — is that Yauch can call up pretty much anyone and get him or her to do the favor of appearing in his film. Celebs making appearances include Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Ted Danson, Alicia Silverstone, Will Ferrell, Rainn Wilson, Jack Black and John C. Reilly.
The short takes surreal turns at times, as when the Beasties end up in a limo with two metal music fans played by Dunst and Maya Rudolph. They all drop acid, Wood gets stabbed in the belly and it turns out that Ferrell is driving the car. Such delightful weirdness peppers all of “Fight for Your Right Revisted.”
“There was just an air of fun to it,” Wood explained.
The short’s chief pleasure is simply that it exists, that Yauch is revisiting a song the band largely swore off back in the ’80s. Some scenes crackle with comedic verve, thanks to the talents of some of Hollywood’s most reliable improv talents. Other scenes could have benefited from a trim or two in the edit room. The music is vintage Beastie stuff; fans won’t be disappointed on that front. As the Beastie Boys themselves, Wood, McBride and Rogen don’t so much channel their real-life counterparts as simply seem to be having an utter blast. The audience at the premiere was right along with them.
The short reaches a bizarre climax when the Beasties encounter a “Back to the Future”-esque DeLorean. Parked inside are older versions of the group: Black as MCA, Ferrell as Mike D and Reilly as Ad-Rock. Turns out, they’re from the future and claim to be the true Beastie Boys. The only way to settle the dispute, apparently, is with an old-school hip-hop dance-off. Their LOL-inducing dance moves lead, not entirely strangely at this point, to the six men in a contest, each one, literally, spraying their cohorts with steady streams.
The short wraps up with the appearance of the actual Beastie Boys, dressed up like cops. They shove the two competing sets of Beastie Boys in a paddy wagon and drive off. A title card reads, “To be continued. Check back in 25 years.”
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