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  Jazzin' for Blue Jean The Two Bowies
Year: 1984
Director: Julien Temple
Stars: David Bowie, Louise Scott, Chris Sullivan, Graham Rogers, Kenny Andrews, Eve Ferrett, Mark Long, Richard Fairbrass, Paul Ridgeley, Daryl Humphries
Genre: Comedy, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Vic (David Bowie) is up a ladder putting up a poster for the latest concert at this venue for the megastar Screaming Lord Byron (also Bowie) when he happens to look around from his vantage point and catches sight of the woman of his dreams (Louise Scott). Unfortunately for him, she's with her boyfriend, but Vic is not to be deterred and after doing her the service of leaning the ladder out of the way so she doesn't risk bad luck as she walks by, he decides to pursue her into the nearest pub. When Byron appears on the TV there, Vic proceeds to make a bold claim...

After Michael Jackson revolutionised the art of the pop video with his Thriller endeavour, it seemed every eighties band wanted a strong visual element to accompany their latest track, but not everyone had Jackson's oodles of cash to back up those ambitions. Nevertheless, as the decade wore on the common complaint was that the glossier movies were growing to looking more like pop videos, as the promotional clips began to resemble bits out of a movie, and some artists opted to blur the line completely by making their own films to advertise their singles. Jazzin' for Blue Jean was David Bowie's version of one of those.

Teaming up with Julien Temple, who made Absolute Beginners with the star in a featured role, here Bowie evidently fancied trying his hand at comedy, thus his Vic character was an amusingly hopeless loser forever destined never to get the girl, yet his rock star character was a dig at the sort of celebrity who's become clueless about anything except appearing on stage. This was obviously Bowie sending himself up, and refreshing for an audience who always saw his public image as somewhat serious and self-possessed, showing the lighter side of his personality which could also be viewed as yet another of his chameleon-like tendencies to adopt new personas depending on the project he was working on.

What happens to poor old Vic (who perpetually sports a sticking plaster on his nose) is that he tries to impress the Dream Girl by claiming he's related to Screaming Lord Byron and can get her a chance to meet him, so after arranging a date Vic has a whole mess of trouble in gaining entry to the club (this after a scene where he tries to find something to wear and tackles a powerful hairdryer not unlike Woody Allen in Play It Again, Sam). The bouncer shows no reaction to our hero's line of bullshit, so after getting a ticket for the girl from a tout (at great expense) he breaks into the building, almost landing in the lap of Mr. Screaming who whimpers and cowers even when Vic is asking him for a favour.

But wait, wasn't this meant to promote a single? That was Blue Jean, which Byron performs about two thirds of the way through, thereby justifying the short film's release on one of those occasional video cassette singles which appeared for a while in the eighties and early nineties, though cost was rather prohibitive when you could get the record far cheaper. That said, if you went to see Company of Wolves in 1984 at the cinema, chances were the supporting feature would be this, so it wasn't entirely a vanity project, or one to generate more sales for a tune which while perfectly acceptable rarely gets mentioned as one of Bowie's best. However, as a character comedy Jazzin' for Blue Jean was surprisingly very funny, with the star delivering the gags with some flair and suggesting he should have appeared in more comedy rather than the drama he was usually employed for in his acting jobs. It is a lot less Michael Jackson's Thriller than it is Mike and the Mechanics' All I Need is a Miracle, mind you.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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