Jumpin' Jack's middle-aged, but time is still on his side.
"Let's Spend the Night Together," a spotty documentary of the Rolling Stones 1981 concert tour, shows off the eternal rockers' wrinkles and their energy, too. Drummer Charlie Watts has a bald spot; bassist Bill Wyman is "39 and holding"; Glimmer Twin Keith Richards is turning gray. But Richards, in red-sequined suspenders and a torn T-shirt, still comes on strong to his guitar, coaxing it, the way Mick Jagger coaxes the crowd.
Jagger, thick eyeliner intact despite steady sweat, wriggles in bisexual abandon: hostile, angry, the eternal adolescent. He jogs from ramp to ramp; he descends in a hydraulic cherry picker. Balloons cascade up and away over New Jersey's Meadowlands Arena. The crowd screams. Jagger sounds hoarse and you can barely hear the bald guy on sax. The guitars and the vocal stand off the keyboards. It's not a great soundtrack, 25 songs recorded on 24-track audio, so hear it in a theater with Dolby.
Hal Ashby directs, using 20 cameras. Caleb Deschanel ("Black Stallion") and Gerald Feil head up cinematography -- from every conceivable angle. Sometimes, it all seems too far away, like looking through a telescope. Most filming is onstage, with some backstage excursions -- a make-up person daubing guitarist Ron Wood with pancake; groupies; and, inexplicably, horses. Basically, it showcases Jagger's fireworks, plus some real ones fired off to Jimi Hendrix's arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Jagger, skinny and wan, in show-and-tell football pants, strips off a jersey and rubs it over all his body parts. The crowd's in a frenzy at Arizona's Sun Devil Stadium, an inside show. A satin and lace chorus line struts out to "Honky Tonk Women." There's excitement there, but not here, not like it ought to be. But then, you can't always get what you want . . . LET'S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER -- At AMC's Academy Six, MacArthur, NTI Springfield, NTI Whiteflint, Roth's Tysons Corner, Showcase Fair City.