James Marcus Haney's autobiographical documentary "No Cameras Allowed" chronicles the former USC film student's inventively underhanded ways of sneaking into the world's big music festivals, including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Ultra and Glastonbury.
The strategy usually involves perimeter awareness, an abundance of random wristbands, security guard confusion and multiple cameras hanging off the neck. The cameras, though, are a genuine accessory, and in worming his way backstage and onstage to film his favorite bands — Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons — he earned their admiration and artistic respect, which landed him gigs recording, legitimately, their subsequent tours.
The details make for a nice story of youthful ingenuity and fulfillment, but Haney's movie is little more than a superficially stylish, self-congratulatory tale — studded with his captured band footage — of how party-crashing got him coveted insider status. Missing is why he loves any particular band or what drives his photographic style, but hey, the musicians come off looking cool and magnanimous, which surely pleased producer MTV and made up for Haney's groupie transgressions.
The movie ends with a one-last-break-in road trip — this time friends get to go! — that feels way too calculatedly sentimental.
'No Cameras Allowed'
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.
Playing: At Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena