Rock biopic 'The Runaways' charts the rise and fall of the titular 70s girlband to a rousing soundtrack but falls down in its lack of character development and typically Hollywood portrayal of the hazards of rock 'n' roll.
Most of the focus is on Cherie Currie, the band's sexbomb lead singer, who is played by a saucer-eyed Dakota Fanning. Cherie is plucked from obscurity by sleazy music impresario Kim Fowley (Shannon) to join the all-girl line-up of The Runaways, moulding her as a jailbait Brigitte Bardot. She's the only character in the film who gets a backstory - no surprise given the screenplay is based on Currie's memoir.
Kristen Stewart portrays the band's shag-haired guitarist Joan Jett, who went on to carve out a successful solo career for herself following the Runaways' break-up. However, in the film her character is completely underdeveloped. Stewart has obviously put her homework in and has the rocker's movements down; but she doesn't have a whole lot to work with script-wise.
The band's unique selling point - the fact that they're all hot girls - catapults them to success and it's not long before they've graduated from jock house parties to touring the world - including a particularly heady stint in Japan. The usual excesses are explored - casual sex and even more casual drug-taking - but it all feels a bit sanitised and unconvincing.
The most credible part of the proceedings is Michael Shannon. He steals the show as the flamboyant, perverse Fowley and demonstrates once again what a stellar actor he is.
Ultimately, this plays out as a paint-by-numbers rock biopic which is elevated by a few really good performances, but the lack of convincing anarchy and the safe approach means that it is nothing beyond conventional. It doesn't do the real Runaways justice.