Thursday, 01 October 2020
The Rocker
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 28 August 2008 00:00

ThumbnailSadly, my high hopes did not save The Rocker from totally not rocking. Rainn Wilson wears the big hair, and even bigger facial expressions as he bangs away at his first starring role, but even his larger than life enthusiasm can’t save this comedy from mediocrity.

Wilson (best known as Dwight on The Office) plays Fish, the drummer for an up-and-coming eighties rock band called Vesuvius. They have a chance to make it big or bust if they don’t kick Fish out of the band so they dump him without hesitation. For the next twenty years of his life he lives in regret, seething with jealousy every time anyone so much as mentions the word Vesuvius. And it’s a word he hears a lot since the band went multi-platinum and has their image pasted everywhere. It’s kind of like the if The Beatles had had a drummer before Ringo Starr… Wait a minute…

So Fish lives, eats and breathes hate for Vesuvius and one day his life goes from bad to unbearably worse when he gets fired and dumped by his girlfriend all in one day. Suddenly he’s jobless, homeless and has to hole up in his sisters’ attic. Fish gets his mojo back one day when his nephew needs a drummer for his garage band. Mentoring a trio of angst ridden teens in the ways of rock seems to be just what he needs to get back on track and before you know it the group is churning out one catchy tune after another. He even scores them a gig and quicker than you can say “Jon Bon Jovi” the band gets signed by a major record label (as is the way only in movies). What Fish doesn’t realize is that he’s doomed to repeat history unless he can get over his hatred for his old band-mates.

ThumbnailWilson plays the role with exuberance, but I’m just not sure it was the right role to launch his film career. His television co-star Steve Carrell was rocketed to super stardom in a small hit comedy when he starred in The 40 Year Old Virgin, but I really don’t think this movie will make that happen for Wilson. He’s entertaining and talented but would be better suited for a much quirkier role than this. I’d like to see him test his chops in either a very serious dramatic role, or in an off-the-wall type of comedy (something along the lines of Being John Malkovich perhaps).  The material in this teen comedy just isn’t daring or quirky enough to support his wonderful oddness.

The rest of the cast is decent, most notably Christina Applegate who is sweet as the young mother to the band’s lead singer. She just isn’t on screen very much, which seems like a waste, and her romance with Fish isn’t very convincing. Newcomer Emma Stone is carving a career for herself, currently starring in both The Rocker and The House Bunny and turning out a decent performance in each, with exception to the mediocre scripts.

Despite the madcap efforts of Rainn Wilson to squeeze the most out of every scene, there are more groans than giggles. A couple of funny moments don’t add up to a feature length film. The Rocker just doesn’t rock my world.