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Review: 'Heavy Trip' is like a Finnish version of 'This Is Spinal Tap.' You've been warned

Review: 'Heavy Trip' is like a Finnish version of 'This Is Spinal Tap.' You've been warned
Samuli Jaskio, from left, Chike Ohanwe, Max Ovaska, and Johannes Holopainen in the film "Heavy Trip." (Doppelgänger Releasing / Music Box Films)

Playing like a Nordic “This is Spinal Tap,” the Finnish import “Heavy Trip,” a satire about an aspiring heavy metal band’s efforts to land its first legitimate gig, proves as affably goofy as its characters.

After years of practicing in a reindeer slaughterhouse with zero payoff, frontman Turo (Johannes Holopainen) and his fellow headbangers are looking to catch their big break at Northern Damnation, an influential metal festival in Norway.

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That they haven’t actually been invited to the event doesn’t seem to faze them any more than the fact that they still haven’t figured out a name for their band (they ultimately settle on Impaled Rektum), or that their original drummer drops dead, to be replaced by a dangerous patient (Chike Ohanwe) sequestered in the psychiatric hospital where Turo works.

A first feature by music video directors Jukka Vidgren and Juuso Laatio, the international co-production remains knowingly true to its quirky quartet and milieu even as the plotting runs off the rails a tad in the third act.

“Heavy metal lyrics are usually based on mythology, occultism, satanism or crappy fantasy literature,” Pasi/Xytrax (Max Ovaska), the outfit’s Goth savant, dryly observes.

Given such pearls of metalhead wisdom, you’re willing to overlook all the spewing bodily functions — of both the human and reindeer variety — and go along for the amusing ride.

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‘Heavy Trip’

In Finnish and Norwegian with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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