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Tales of the Rat Fink

A tale sure to satisfy Big Daddy
By IAN SANDS  |  October 11, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars

Pop-culture chronicler Ron Mann’s animated documentary is a playful tribute to the late Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (voiced by John Goodman), whose eccentric automobiles and monster caricatures helped shape Southern Cal’s “Kustom Kulture” craze in the ’60s. Roth was a critic of the stylistic homogeneity of what was coming out of Detroit, and as such he was interested less in mechanics than in artistry. His flashy, monstrous creations were never meant to be driven. In Rat Fink, the artist often takes a back seat to the models, which are the true stars: the fiberglass-bodied “Outlaw,” “Surfite” (Brian Wilson), “Flamethrower” (Jay Leno), “Heartbreaker” (Ann-Margret), the futuristic “Beatnik Bandit.” Weaving his narrative out of newsreels, commercials, and animated sequences, Mann keeps it from turning into a car show. When Roth’s anti-mascot, Rat Fink, takes a cartoon sledgehammer to a frame occupied by a snooty Caddy, you just know the real Big Daddy is grinning in his grave

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  Topics: Reviews , Brian Wilson, Jay Leno, Ann-Margret,  More more >
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