August 20, 2008
‘Rocker’ is Dumb but Funny
By Jeff Vice Deseret News
THE ROCKER -- ** 1/2 -- Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Teddy Geiger; rated PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, brief nudity, profanity, brief drugs); Century Sandy and South Salt Lake; Cinemark Jordan Landing; Megaplex District, Gateway and Jordan Commons
Yet the movie is sort of dumb-funny as well. This rock music comedy does has a few chuckles and belly laughs. And unlike a few other smug, self-satisfied comedies that have come along recently, this one at least seems to have a heart at its center.
That's important, because we have to like these characters if we're going to swallow these situations. The title refers to Robert "Fish" Fishman, a drummer played by Rainn Wilson (from TV's "The Office").
Fish was booted from a heavy metal band just before they became huge stars. So he has spent the subsequent years going from one dead- end job to the next and has become embittered. Worse, he's now living in his sister's attic.
But he is trying to befriend his teenage nephew, Matt (Josh Gad), who's playing keyboards in a band. And as it so happens, the group has recently lost its drummer, so Matt asks his uncle to fill in for at least one show -- a school prom.
But Fish needs to be sold on the idea, as do Matt's band mates (Teddy Geiger and Emma Stone). And even when he does agree to play with them, the group's first gig ends badly, thanks to Fish's antics.
However, Fish decides to promote the band and, as improbable as it seems, his unique methods net them a fan base -- as well as offers from music companies.
As Fish, Wilson is not nearly as creepy as his "Office" character. He's trying a little too hard to be funny here, though.
Fortunately, his co-stars are all pretty likable. That includes musician Geiger, Gad and Stone ("Superbad"), and Christina Applegate, who plays the concerned mother of one of the teens.
Also, there's an amusingly goofy supporting bit by current "Saturday Night Live" cast member Jason Sudeikis, who plays the band's rather sleazy manager.
"The Rocker" is rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor and references (slang), mostly comic violence (slapstick and assorted mayhem), brief male nudity, scattered profanity, and brief drug references. Running time: 103 minutes.
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