Like many other collectors of film music I first became aware of Mark Mothersbaugh when his name flashed up upon the credits for the RUGRATS, I must admit I never took a lot of notice of the music in this series as it was on basically for the kids in the house, so I don’t know anything about the show or Tommy, Angelica, the twins, the dog, Granpa and mom and Dad. Anyway moving on, I often thought how talented Mothersbaugh must be because he managed to fit so much into the scores for THE RUGRATS and also seemed to include so many musical genres and styles. The composer was the musical voice of the Rugrats for almost 170 episodes and also later scored the movies that were based upon the TV series. But his career started before this when he was a member of the Avante Garde band DEVO, but his involvement with scoring movies came in 1987,when he wrote the music for REVENGE OF THE NERDS 2,NERDS IN PARADISE. This was swiftly followed by SLAUGHTER HOUSE ROCK in 1988, and then he started to work regularly on PEE WEES PLAYHOUSE for TV and scored approx 37 episodes of this show. In recent years the composer has been involved with his fair share of cinema success’s such as CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 1 AND 2, 21 JUMP STREET, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOUR EXPECTING, HOTEL TRANSYLVANNIA and the up and coming 22 JUMP STREET. He also maintained a fairly busy timetable with assignments for the small screen as in, GLORY DAZE, SHAMELESS, ENLIGHTENED and HOUSE OF LIES to name a handful. One of his latest scoring assignments is LAST VEGAS, This tells the story of four friends who decide in their sixties to go to Las Vegas to have a bachelor party for one of their number who is single. Robert de Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play the bunch of fun seeking pensioners who take Vegas by storm. The movie is pretty fast paced comedy with the central actors working superbly together creating a great atmosphere and delivering a plethora of one liners that are hilarious. The score by Mothersbaugh is fairly low key ,but certainly has its moments that are as entertaining as the movie itself, it has a real feel good persona about it and is for want of a better word a joyful sounding score, which entertains on so many levels and also appeals to a wide spectrum of tastes. It is for the first part of the score pretty much jazz led and at times has a sound to it that is straight out of the 60,s and the 70,s complete with a groovy sounding Hammond organ and stroked cymbals and drums, bouncy bass lines and infectious sounding percussive support that moves things along nicely, there are some great piano passages which are at times up beat boogie woogie infused cues.
But for the most part this is one of those cool steamy soundtracks which evokes memories of past scores by the likes of Quincy Jones, Sid Ramin and Michel Legrand, it also at times yields to a highly emotive and affecting side, which in this particular case first makes an appearance in track number three PADDYINTRO/EULOGY, this begins with a laid back Hammond organ picking out a groovy tune that soon melts away as it is merely an introduction to a more plaintive and subdued piece that is performed on piano, guitar and lent depth and support by feint comforting strings. The score also contains a number of vocals courtesy of Mary Steenburgen, these include evergreen numbers such as ONLY YOU, YOUR NOBODY TILL SOMEBODY LOVES YOU and I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU, in which the talented actress becomes a just as talented vocalist. I would say that LAST VEGAS is a score that once listened to will most definitely get its fair share of plays, its easy going, easy listening and so chilled that it is laid back personified. Great stuff… Recommended.