The Rocker review by Cinema Guru Boy

From here on out, all movie roles intended for Jack Black should automatically be offered to Rainn Wilson first. The Rocker will inevitably be compared to School of Rock, maybe even accused of being a School of Rock rip-off, considering its basic plot framework of a adult man-child forming a rock band with kids, but there's really a much bigger difference than this.

The general plot begins with an '80's hair band called Vesuvius, fronted by Will Arnett, who is on the verge of making the big-time, the night of their big contract signing. However, to the dismay of drummer Rob Fishman (Rainn Wilson), the band ousts him that very night. This episode reeks of one of the most famous back-stabbings in metal history. Rumor has it, Metallica waited until the day they signed with a major record label to fire frontman Dave Mustaine, thus promoting James Hetfield to lead vocals. Mustaine, filled with resentment, formed the band Megadeth, eventually becoming every bit as successful as Metallica. Fish, on the other hand, took a different route. He worked crappy desk jobs for twenty years, stewing in his own resentment. Soon, he even loses his crappy job, forcing him to move into his sister's attic. And then that fateful day happened, when Fish's nephew Matt's (Josh Gad) band A.D.D. (also featuring lead singer and guitarist Curtis, played by Teddy Geiger, and bassist Amelia, played by Emma Stone), scheduled to play the prom is suddenly a drummer short. Reluctantly, Uncle Fish helps out, and his passion for music is refueled.

Whether the writers had the Metallica/Megadeth story in mind is debatable, maybe it was supposed to parallel Pete Best's exit from The Beatles, but it seemed to provide for a premise with a lot of comic potential. I'm not sure what the name Vesuvius is supposed to represent, and the only time I've ever heard that word is in reference to the Italian volcano, famous for reeking havoc on neighboring Italians, but I suppose it's supposed to represent the source of pain. Writing my opinion on this movie is a really tricky task, because it plot is really kind of cheesy and unreal, as things happen because people do things that people wouldn't do in real life. The positives of this movie rely solely in the jokes. One brilliantly clever joke after another. It was funny from beginning to end, and I can't explain why without ruining punchlines. Sometimes the humor is reduced to Looney Toons-style lunacy, other times there's politically-incorrect comments made, other times just really clever, witty jokes. And all of it is genuinely funny.

But the rest of the movie is hurtful to its overall quality. As I said, the behavioral realism is non-existent. However, does that really matter to a goofy comedy? Peter Cattaneo doesn't seem to think so. Which is odd, because even though I'm not very familiar with his body of work, but the movie of his most of us are probably most familiar with, The Full Monty, is completely fueled by the character development, making the comedy evolve from the character. The Rocker, on the other hand, uses stereotypes to gloss past the pesky task of developing character, and uses the plot to drive the comedy. Which is fine, given that the comedy works really well. One thing I did find annoying is that Vesuvius was repeatedly referred to as a metal band. However, they bore a much closer resemblance to the hair bands of the '80s like Bon Jovi and Poison. That's not metal. Which leads me to the most improbable piece of character action in the film, which really confused me. Now, I'm not a musician, so maybe I have no clue what the hell I'm talking about. But in my world, no self-respecting metal-head would ever (for the love of music or any other reason) ever, and I mean ever, perform in an emo band like A.D.D. And maybe it's just me, because I'm just not into either hair bands or emo music, but all the music in the movie was horrible.

But does any of that matter in a comedy as long as the jokes come fast and they work? I suppose that's up to the individual. I can't honestly knock a movie I laughed with for two hours. This also proves Rainn Wilson can anchor a movie. He was brilliant. He was funny when he needed to be, he was pitiful when it was called for, and he was exciting and passionate when it was appropriate. And thankfully, the love story between him and Amanda(Christina Applegate) wasn't nearly as clichic as it looked like it was going to be. Since gaining fame on The Office, Rainn Wilson has popped in supporting roles in bad movies like My Super Ex-Girlfriend and The Last Mimzy, shining as the finest parts of those unfulfilling cinematic experiences, as well as having a very memorable cameo in the critical and audience darling Juno. But now, finally seizing the opportunity to lead a cast and carry a movie, I was very pleased that this was his initial endeavor, as I felt it was a successful one.

But that's just, like, my opinion, man.

7 out of 10 Jackasses
blog comments powered by Disqus