Hello daddy, it's The Runaways

Outstanding performances help this cherry bomb rise above the usual VH1 biopic fare.

Anyone who knows director/photographer Floria Sigismondi's music videos for David Bowie and The White Stripes would have expected her first feature-length film to be oversaturated in colour, exotic, torturously detailed. But Sigismondi pulls her contemporary aesthetic back to the more naturalistic look of 1975, when a shaggy 15-year-old Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) co-founded The Runaways, a pioneering bad-girl band that proved that vajayjay rock could have balls too. But there isn't enough Jett to take off. The film belongs to Bowie-obsessed Cherie Currie (an eerily mature Dakota Fanning)---the script is partly based on her book, after all---who was shaped like a jailbait wet dream by a domineering, sexually ambiguous manager Kim Fowley, played with flamboyant perverseness by Michael Shannon. The Runaways includes the usual VH1 biopic fare: drugs, band politics, the quick rise and crash, but even with a weak script it's worth the ride, because Sigismondi takes this band and these young women seriously. The scene where Currie first snarls: "Hello, Daddy, hello, Mom, I'm your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb," is pure rock 'n' roll heaven.

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