Critics agree that the soundtrack of Pirate Radio can't be beat, and the top-notch cast is a joy. So when it comes to the shaky plot and pacing, some can turn a blind eye:
- "There’s no denying the comic energy of the cast," Peter Travers writes in Rolling Stone. "Couple that with blasts of Brit rock from the Beatles and the Stones to Dusty Springfield and David Bowie, and the ship is unsinkable."
- Writer/director Richard Curtis introduces "characters and conflicts only to drop them," Stephanie Zacharek of Salon complains. But no matter: The best bits "take place in the movie's margins, in the vignettes and asides that don't necessarily have much to do with the plot."
- Bah. A great cast and great tunes—some of which are not at all historically accurate—do not a great film make, Sam Adams writes for the AV Club. "Do you like montages, but grow bored with the tedious plot bits in between? Then Pirate Radio is the movie for you."
- Curtis alludes to the cultural issues behind the plot—a little, writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. Really, "he wants to party." Which he does, and "which is fine."