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54 review

For those not on the list, Studio 54 was a real happening - a heady, anything-goes clubland of drugs, sex and sequins. During the '70s everyone who was anyone (Cher, Jerry Hall, Sly Stallone) went there to gawp and be gawped at. First-time writer-director Mark Christopher chooses to open his fictional account of this glittery hedonism during the summer of '79, by which time the legend of Studio 54 was already well established and the good times (ie the '70s) were coming to an end. Think of it as Boogie Nights: The Club Remix.

Whatever tabloid legends Studio 54 threw up, the enigmatic figure of owner Steve Rubell was always at the centre. Mike Myers puts in an uncanny turn as the unpredictable Lord Of The Prance - all nasal vowels and balding pate - with the best scenes featuring Rubell abusing/seducing his staff.

Unfortunately, Myers is only a supporting player: consequently, we never get a handle on who the high-living, tax-dodging Rubell really was. Instead our guide to the secrets of the club is fresh-faced barman O'Shea and his pretty friends; Hayek (a struggling singer), Campbell (a struggling actress) and the excellent Breckin Meyer (a struggling drug dealer).

Inevitably, O'Shea falls in love with the glamour before being repulsed by the excess; a narrative arc that was tired long before Mark Wahlberg waved his prosthetic manhood about in Boogie Nights. And although the period detail is lovingly, accurately recreated, the period itself feels too well-worn.

There's an interesting story to be told about Studio 54, but this only scratches the surface. It lacks either the conviction to be a morality tale or the scope to be a historical document. This is little more than a small drama about some pretty young things.

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