“The Sparks Brothers,” a documentary about the semi-obscure, semi-famous rock band Sparks by director Edgar Wright of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” fame, is an exceedingly well-made film from a true fan, although it eventually threatens to wear out its welcome.
Wright takes a fan-boy approach to Sparks, led by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, whose off-kilter, genre-spanning styles and twisted lyrics have gained them a cult following, with occasional popular breakthroughs, usually in Europe or the United Kingdom.
They have produced 25 studio albums on almost as many record labels over an astonishing 50-year career in which no one really knows what to do with them. The blurb on the film poster neatly encapsulates their elusive appeal: “Your Favorite Band’s Favorite Band.”
Giving fair play to so much material means a two-hour-plus running time, but Wright mostly makes the time fly with creative stop-motion animation, great archival footage, more-interesting-than-usual talking heads, and general directorial cleverness.