“The Dirt” knows its audience and plays to it. Based on the bestselling autobiography from the legendary band Mötley Crüe, the film tells the story of four misfits who rise to stardom through a combination of sex, drugs, talent, and outrageous debauchery (not necessarily in that order).
Bolstered by a killer soundtrack and a tornado of craziness, this Netflix original movie still feels sloppy and rushed. Viewers who have read the book and know the band’s history won’t feel as lost by the disjointed storytelling as those new to the party.
Nearly every rock and roll movie cliché, from trashing a hotel room to chugging bottles of vodka like water, make an appearance. This is a world where women are mere sex objects and a balanced diet includes Jack Daniels and a couple of lines of cocaine. It’s inanely juvenile and limps along until the abrasive pointlessness takes its toll and audiences lose interest. The tonal shifts near the end feel out of place with the even more abrupt ending.
This movie never enters the general vicinity of awards-worthy territory, but Crüe fans will still find much to enjoy. Director Jeff Tremaine opts to focus on the band’s bad behavior instead of the music, which is fun for a while but quickly becomes exhausting. Instead of endlessly repetitive scenes of sex and drug use, time would’ve been better spent showing more of the origins of the band’s popularity and hit songs.
It would be unfair to critique this movie without applauding the casting. It’s on point, with the actors perfectly adopting the attitudes and mannerisms of the band. The performances may be of the soap opera variety, but these guys become the larger than life members of Mötley Crüe. It’s uncanny how much they look and move like Tommy Lee (Machine Gun Kelly), Vince Neil (Daniel Webber), Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth), and Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon). They’re a likeable band of misfits, even if they didn’t really have to overcome much adversity to get to the top.
“The Dirt” isn’t a game changer for the music biopic genre nor is it one I would recommend, but the poolside scene with Ozzy Osbourne (Tony Cavalero) is one that will be burned into my eyeballs forever. (And yeah, the band swears it’s 100% true — gross).