Completing the 1980 musical triple-feature from hell (along with Can't Stop the Music and The Apple) is Xanadu which tries to marry the hip and now fad of roller disco with an old school Hollywood-style musical. It just doesn't work.
The biggest reason why is the film's insistence that these two styles can be blended seamlessly into something new and cool. How else to explain a musical that stars both the then-hot Olivia Newton-John, and in his last role, Gene Kelly? Instead of blending, they clash uneasily against one another until the viewer is brow-beaten by all of the costumes, sets, frenetic editing, pointless montages and wall-to-wall forgettable tunes.
The plot involves Newton-John, playing one of the muses from Greek mythology (I know) who is sent down to Earth to provide inspiration to a painter of album covers, Michael Beck. It's clear that 'art' isn't Newton-John's inspirational forte since he immediately quits his job to follow whatever nutty plan she can come up with. Also, Beck befriends Kelly, and with the aid of Newton-John's inspirational powers, the two renovate a building into the hottest new combo nightclub/roller rink named, you guessed it, Xanadu. Much like what happened with the failure of Roller Boogie the year before, Xanadu kinda forgot that the brief roller disco fad was over even before the movie was released.
The biggest handicap of all though is the casting of Michael Beck as our hero and romantic lead. The year before, Beck impressed with a quiet and intense performance as a gang member in The Warriors; unfortunately, it becomes quite clear that Beck only had that one facial expression and one way to deliver his lines. Beck is such pure, dull cardboard that he can't hardly crack a smile convincingly. Ralph Bakshi even provides an animated musical sequence with cartoon versions of both Beck and Newton-John; it's only here that Beck provides a second facial expression. Newton-John basically plays herself as she always has and it's hard to tell whether Kelly knew he was involved in a sinking ship. Kelly gamely goes through some of the lame scenes, such as a montage of him trying on clothes or extended shots of him rollerskating around in a circle.
Other particularly lengthy musical numbers include one where Beck imagines the club to be a heavy metal rock venue while Kelly wants a throwback to the Big Band era, so we get tons of extras (including Fee Waybill, lead singer of The Tubes) all dancing and jerking to either rock or jazz, barely able to get out of each other's way. Anyway, the club is a success, and before Newton-John is whisked back away to be with Zeus, she gets one last protracted performance of the title tune while going through costume change after costume change while neons blink incessantly and skaters continue to zip around aimlessly.
Xanadu is just a riot of lame performance numbers and electric colors all plastered overtop an insipid script. The film wanted to provide something for every possible kind of viewer, and in doing so, came up with an end-product that held little to no appeal to anyone.