If Universal had made it 35 years earlier, The Blues Brothers might have been called Abbott & Costello in Soul Town. Level of inspiration is about the same now as then, the humor as basic, the enjoyment as fleeting. But at $30 million, this is a whole new ball-game.
Enacting Jake and Elwood Blues roles created for their popular concert and recording act, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd use the slenderest of stories – attempt to raise $5,000 for their childhood parish by putting their old band back together – as an excuse to wreak havoc on the entire city of Chicago and much of the Midwest.
Film’s greatest pleasure comes from watching the likes of James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and especially Aretha Franklin do their musical things.
Given all the chaos, director and, with Aykroyd, cowriter, John Landis manages to keep things reasonably controlled and in a straight line. Pic plays as a spirited tribute by white boys to black musical culture, which was inspiration for the Blues Brothers act in the first place.