Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger, Emma Stone and Rainn Wilson in The Rocker.
By CAINE GARDNER
Rainn Wilson provides comic genius on NBC's The Office week in and week out and when it was announced he would have a big screen vehicle to display his comedic talents; one would be more than enthusiastic. Unfortunately, that vehicle was The Rocker.
In short, The Rocker is a simple story of redemption. A lost dream found. It was a film made to penetrate the deep recesses of the human spirit, those who have had their dream dangled in front of them and then had it snatched away. The problem with the film is that it failed to reach its preferred demographic.
The Rocker would have been perfect for those of us in our 30s and beyond, but instead it settled for a definite teen and 20s market. The result is a flat comedy that struggles to make it through its 102 minutes.
Robert "Fish" Fishman is the dynamic drummer for the up-and-coming hair band Vesuvius. Just before their big break, Fish is ousted from the band and spends the next twenty years in limbo. As he struggles to come to terms with the past, Fish is presented with the opportunity to reclaim his dream with his nephew's band. It all comes down to the moment when his new band ADD his scheduled to open for Vesuvius' induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
The movie is littered with laughable moments, but nothing really makes you sit back and give a hard chuckle. The most memorable performers in the flick are Emma Stone, Christina Applegate and Josh Gad. Stone delivers a solid performance as the perpetually dour Amelia, and Gad's delightful awkwardness is splendid. It's a little weird envisioning Kelly Bundy as a responsible, hot mom lead singer Curtis (Teddy Geiger) but Applegate is wonderful in the role.
That being said, it was too little to save this flick.
Too many unfulfilling moments and the lack of Wilson's usual zany demeanor, leaves the film less than rockin'. Wilson is at his best when you don't know what you're going to get, but The Rocker is basically a 1-2-3 paint by numbers tale and Wilson gets caught up in the jangled story.
The one bright spot is a cameo by Pete Best, original drummer for the Beatles. Best's story is obviously the basis for the idea of the flick and it truly is a heartbreaking story -- to everyone but Best. In the special features, Best speaks about the moment and ends the interview with the thought that he might be the lucky individual involved. The best feature of the supplemental materials is an interview with Best. Top notch.
Final Cut: A clear doppelganger of School of Rock, I would suggest sticking to the latter. The Rocker offers little in the way of new laughs and director Peter Cattaneo squanders a very talented cast to deliver a lackluster comedy.
2 out of 4 stars
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Jeff Garlin, Josh Gad, Emma Stone
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Writer: Maya Forbers, Wallace Wolodarsky
* Gag Reel
* Deleted Scenes
* Pete Best Interview Featurette
* MTV Film Festival panel
* Four exclusive podcasts
*Vesuvius Public Service Announcements
*Rainn Wilson: Office Rocker featurette
*Commentary with director Peter Cattaneo and actor Rainn Wilson
* Commentary with actor Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger, Emma Stone and Jason Sudeikis