When This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner) came out in 1984, thirteen year-old Max Kucar couldn’t decide if Spinal Tap was an actual band or not. At the time, he was frustrated with not knowing, but over the years, he learned to embrace and adore ambiguity. Kucar’s “Boyz Up” might leave you wondering if you’re watching a bonafide quartet of strapping lads singing and dancing, but the uncertainty is assuredly intentional. This short teaser, which is an excerpt from a soon-to-be-released film, consists of brief interview footage from fans and critics alike, and Boyz Up’s music video for their song “Pump.” From the interview segment, you can tell that Boyz Up’s fan base is comprised of teenaged and college-aged girls as well as Ray Liotta, who refers to the boy-band as “good dancers” and full of “charisma.” Those opposed to Boyz Up and their song “Pump,” include a mother, Ron Jeremy, and Henry Rollins, both of whom deem the song to be “obscene” and “insensitive.”
Kucar strategically sequences and juxtaposes criticisms alongside praise, leaving the viewer curious as to why “Pump” is so offensive. The music video sheds some light on this issue. If you pay attention to the song’s lyrics, you’ll discover the reason for the controversy. With a chorus that repeats, “I wanna pump yer holes” and a second verse that boasts “pumpin those holes/is what I like to do/either from the front or where the poo comes through,” it’s pretty clear why Henry Rollins would find it so repulsive. But, Boyz Up is not your average pop product; they can be raunchy to their heart’s desire.
Boyz Up emulates and parodies acts such as Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and MTV’s 2gether. The members of the group are Lance (the light-skinned brother who is probably half Hispanic), Julian (the not-so-cute-looks-like-he’s-30 guy), Doni (the twangy, tobacco-chewing version of a mustached Vanilla Ice), and BJ (the universally-good-looking/everyone’s-favorite). Boyz UP and NSYNC both have members named Lance, however, all similarities end there. Unlike the band that should have been named Justin & JC, Boyz Up distributes singing parts equally among its members.
The music video also encompasses various elements of a typical TRL menu item. “Pump” begins with the boys dancing in front of skyscrapers, doing their best to impress the obligatory hot chick. The rest of the video includes footage from the recording studio, a photo shoot, rapping in front of graffiti, snorting coke in a limo with models, and a performance for excited fans. In the spirit of teeny bopper videos, Lance, Julian, Doni, and BJ go through several costume changes; the outfits color-coded to fit their personalities or a visual theme. The boys go from wearing jumpsuits of different colors to black pants with bright pastel, long-sleeved, button-down shirts, to no shirts, to ghetto gangsta threads with matching gold chains, to orange jumpsuits, and finally back to ghetto clothes.
Max Kucar made “Boyz Up” because he wanted boy-band fans and anti-fans to enjoy the phenomenon that once swept the music industry. “Boyz Up takes this pop monstrosity to a whole other level,” Kucar explains. It doesn’t matter if you hate or love boy-bands because “Boyz Up” will give you a great laugh. So what if you end up singing “I wanna pump yer holes.” Just don’t sing out loud, and you should be fine. As for whether or not “Boyz Up” is a short documentary or a mockumentary, you decide.