Robert 'Fish' Fishman (Rainn Wilson) is the drummer in an 80s hair band - until he's kicked out. Twenty years later, the desperate rocker joins his nerdy nephew's band, A.D.D., to claim the rock throne he feels he's always deserved - while taking his younger bandmates on the ride of their lives.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Rainn Wilson is the new Jack Black, and Emma Stone is the new Lindsay Lohan - but there isn't much else that's new in the screenplay, which sticks to the tried and true formula for such sub-genre comedy (the everyman anti-hero rock muso seeking a second chance). The nerdy protagonist enables young male audiences to associate with him on a journey of wish fulfilment while having a few good and few bad laughs, all the while finding reasons to do some rock shtick. And young women will identify with the girl in the little band that thinks it can.
The rest of the cast also fits snugly into the recipe, with excellent characterisations that surpass the film's lowbrow ambiance. Josh Gad, the tubby one, does a nice line in self deprecating youth with whom such a group of youths can identify, as he finds his reward, while Teddy Geiger is terrific as Curtis, the musical engine of the band, whose mother (Christina Applegate) plays a key role in the plot.
So The Rocker delivers what it promises and satisfies the filmmakers' objectives (even if it isn't my kinda movie), and despite its many predictable elements, has enough entertainment value to have elicited applause from the preview audience. Perhaps one reason is Rainn Wilson's nakedly (I use the word wisely) honest and vanity-free performance; and the fact he enjoys every moment of it, in an infectious display of showbiz bravado, complete with failure and pain.
Production design is especially effective, and the music is good enough to make the plot credible. And yes, there are some funny bits.
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ROCKER, THE (M)
CAST: Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Demetri Martin, Teddy Geiger, Josh Gad, Jon Cor
PRODUCER: Shawn Levy, Tom McNulty
DIRECTOR: Peter Cattaneo
SCRIPT: Maya Forbes, Wally Wolodarsky
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony B. Richmond
EDITOR: Brad E. Wilhite
MUSIC: Chad Fischer
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 9, 2008
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.