Chris Cole has a dream. The lead singer of a tribute band, he wants to recreate
the music, the look and clothes of his idol, Bobby Beers (Jason Flemyng) of
STEEL DRAGON, as accurately as possible. In his ultimate fantasy, of course,
the band he mimics would actually hire him to be their lead singer.
Welcome to Hollywood, where anything can happen. One day, STEEL DRAGON fires
Bobby, who is notorious for his bad attitude. For his replacement they choose
the completely unknown Chris, who adopts a British accent and a stage name of
The problem with ROCK STAR, directed by Stephen Herek (101 DALMATIANS and THE
MIGHTY DUCKS), can be summed up in two words, Mark Wahlberg. As Izzy, the
entire movie rests on Wahlberg's shoulders, and he can't carry it. Last seen as
the star of the remake of PLANET OF THE APES, he has an incredibly limited
emotional range. Jennifer Aniston as Emily, his girlfriend and first manager,
isn't much more effective.
The script by TV writer John Stockwell starts and ends well enough but contains
a vast wasteland in-between. Director Herek's experience directing a bunch of
pooches running around or kids skating around doesn't help him fashion a
meaningful or exciting film about the world of heavy metal rock legends. The
musical concerts are all done by the numbers. One scene, any scene, from ALMOST
FAMOUS has more life than all of ROCK STAR.
"I'm just a regular guy who grew up with the posters of these guys on my wall,"
Izzy likes to remind his cheering crowds. "Now, I'm one of them." I wish ROCK
STAR had given us reason to care. Although it is so bland that it's sometimes
hard to tell, the movie wants to be a cautionary tale about the cumulative
effect of nightly bouts of promiscuous sex with groupies and lots of drugs. The
sex, however, is only discussed, and the drugs themselves are mainly AWOL, thus
muting any message. Instead we get suggestive dances, and people who wake up in
the wrong bed after an unseen night of bad behavior.
"You know, he's a rock star now," the wife of one of the band members tells
Emily about Izzy. "Normal rules don't apply." Guess, what? He starts out
innocent but quickly becomes corrupted. Any guesses as to what happens to him
ROCK STAR runs 1:47. It is rated R for "language, sexuality and some drug
content," and would be acceptable for most teenagers.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, liked the music but thought the movie itself was just
okay. He gave it ** 1/2.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes