Wired Review

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It was such a good idea. A biopic of John Belushi, based on the bestseller by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, detailing the rise and fall of one of America’s foremost comedians of the 70s who died in 1982 after years of narcotic abuse topped off with a drugs binge in Hollywood’s now infamous Chateau Marmont Hotel.

Unfortunately, Wired – the movie – is a truly tragic affair in more ways than one. Obviously having to tamper with the script to avoid a mound of litigation from those involved in seedy debauchery with Belushi, director Larry Peerce (Elvis And Me) chose to make Wired a ‘fantasy-comedy-drama’. So the moral tale kicks off with the dead Belushi emerging from his body bag in the morgue, and being taken back on a cruise through his life by an angel who is – oh dear – a Puerto Rican taxi driver. It’s a journey (confusingly intercut with Woodward investigating the circumstances of Belushi’s death) which encompasses the early Saturday Night Live performances with Dan Aykroyd, his famed role as Bluto in Animal House (when Belushi was doing an Eiger-sized mountain of cocaine per day and sending director John Landis round the twist), leading to the fatal cocaine and heroin cocktail administered by addict Cathy Smith (played by ex-model Patty D’Arbanville).

Although newcomer Michael Chiklis turns in a sterling performance, Wired never allows him to explain why Belushi was such an infuriatingly drug-sodden slob, and sadly for a movie about a funny man its woefully short on humour – unless you count the unintentionally hysterical and totally surreal final scene of Bob Woodward (who in reality never actually met Belushi) tip-toeing round the room in the Chateau Marmont as the expiring comic lies gasping for life. In fact, the fantasy element is tediously dominant at the expense of everything else so that one emerges from Wired knowing only three facts about Belushi – he took an awful lot of drugs (surprise surprise), his wife must have been some kind of Mother Teresa figure to put up with him, and he was basically a giant pain in the ass. Not really enough for one hour and 40 minutes’ worth of film.