Ostensibly, Davis Guggenheim's It Might Get Loud is a rock doc centered on an iconic summit of sorts: a freestyle noodle fest and gear chat with Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge. As far as the audience is concerned, there doesn't seem to be any discernable reason for their meeting—except for the fact that these are three extremely successful and talented guitarists, and they all happened to be available at the time. One might infer that each represents a different generation of noodler—the architect of a particularly distinctive sound—but the reason for their selection is never directly addressed. It might as well have been called Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge Are In The Same Freakin' Room: The Movie.
The meeting itself comprises perhaps a third of the film, which proves to be a blessing. Page, White and The Edge's roundtable session seems awkward and a tinge random, not just for the viewer but for the players themselves. They wank for a bit, noncommittally strum along to one another's songs and banter casually about the guitars they play—much like an episode of VH1's Storytellers where nobody knew to bring stories. Whenever the three players swap a tale or a lick and the intended magic never happens, director Guggenheim cuts away to an individual segment with one of the three icons. It's in these interviews—each undoubtedly more compelling than The Meeting—that the principals illuminate their rise to fame, their backgrounds as players and their stylistic influences.
The bio sequences on each artist provide mini-morsels for the fan. But no sooner than a grinning Page plays air guitar to Link Wray's "Rumble" or White explains that he always wanted his music to sound like Son House, we're cast quickly back into the contrived living-room set where all is bathed in the energy-saving light of self-importance. Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) might have been better off making a bio on any of the given artists rather than forcing a vaguely uncomfortable meeting between them. Then again, the movie's forced attempts at adding variety—such as the porkpie-hatted, bowtie-adorned 9-year-old doppelganger who follows Jack White around during his Franklin-filmed wraparound sequences—come off as the celluloid equivalent of a Stonehenge backdrop.
Indeed, the most revealing segment in It Might Get Loud comes when The Edge expresses how he felt seeing Spinal Tap for the first time. As people around him laughed, he confesses he was mortified by how true to life the mockumentary was. Even so, that self-awareness doesn't stop him from making ham-fisted stabs at profundity, or from joining two equally over-worshipped rock stars in an "impromptu" version of "The Weight" that's as discomforting as Nigel Tufnel & Co.'s trainwreck harmonizing on "Heartbreak Hotel." Even for a fan who likes all the performers and relishes the idea of a good old-fashioned all-star wankfest, It Might Get Loud barely nudges the needle into the red.
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