Barenaked in America
"Put the label 'Canadian' on any product, and Americans just seize up," claims the manager of Barenaked Ladies, the Canuck alterna-pop cult band that broke through in the States a couple of years ago with the hit "One Week." It's true, unless, of course, our friends to the north are selling us comedy. This smarter-than-average rockumentary, directed by erstwhile teen idol/Canadian Jason Priestley, follows the Ladies on their 1998 U.S. tour and winningly posits them as heirs to the long, proud tradition of comedians from the Great White North. See frontman Ed Robertson persuade a Yank tourist that he's the founder of Lilith Fair! Hear co-frontman Steven Page expound on matters of international security! ("If you get naked and shake these bars," he informs us while clinging to the White House fence, "they'll take you away.") Marvel as the entire band discusses the challenge of masturbating discretely on a crowded tour bus! Best of all, Barenaked in America makes a case that humor has served as a Trojan horse for the Ladies' musical conquest, with lively samplings of such XTC/Squeeze/Rockpile-influenced power-pop ditties as "Alcohol," "It's All Been Done," and the still-amusing "Be My Yoko Ono."