It was only a matter of time before bar karoake arrived at the house of sweet transvestite Dr Frank’N’Furter and his band of eccentric time warpers, but if the original film was a glorious exercise in camp excess, then this remake is a exercise in politically-correct pandering.
The plot is pretty much identical to the original cult classic. Recently engaged couple Brad and Janet seek shelter in a creepy old mansion, only to find themselves trapped in the company of a group of outlandish characters including Dr Frank’N’Furter, Riff-Raff, perfect creation Rocky and biker delivery boy Eddie. This time the stockings that originally belonged to Tim Curry, who appears as the narrator in this version, are wrapped around the legs of transgender actress Laverne Cox. Cox is great in the leading role, but anyone who was hoping that this would continue the rebellious spirit of the original musical will be sorely dissappointed by this remake as it appears afraid to come across as overly camp.
The film was directed by Kenny Ortega, who started off behind the camera as a choreographer on Dirty Dancing, Newsies and Salsa before moving into the directors chair with the quintessential guilty-pleasure Hocus Pocus. Ortega is best known to modern audiences as the director of the High School Musical trilogy, and this shows in the direction of this tv special. The whole atmosphere is one of an amateur dramatics performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The eroticism is stifled, the campy attitude of the original is replaced by a corporate attitude of political-correctness, and the musical sequences are painfully mundane. I must give a special mention to Adam Lambert as Delivery boy Eddie, as a huge fan of Meat-Loaf I was filled with a sense of dread as the Hot Patootie number edged closer, and Lambert is truly dreadful in the role. He is dressed as a biker, complete with leather jacket and greasy hair, but, quite frankly, he looks as if he would much prefer to be sat in front of a fire enjoying a cappuchino.
It is a shame that a film that could have revelled in excess is reduced to such a boring, unimaginative retread of the original film. As it is i can’t see this film being remembered for very long.