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Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: The Rocker

Review by Adam Stevenson

The Rocker is the latest comedy from Fox Atomic under the direction of Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty), starring Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger, Jane Lynch, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Jeff Garlin, Bradley Cooper, Will Arnett, and Fred Armisen, in what could be one of the surprise comedy hits of 2008.  “Rocker” tells the story of Robert "Fish" Fishman (Wilson), a failed drummer who is given a second chance at fame. 

Back in 1988, Fish was the extremely dedicated and astoundingly loving drummer for the eighties hair band Vesuvius, who is living the rock n' roll dream, until the bands agent finally lands the band as record deal to die for.  But there’s a catch involved into getting this deal: Fish has got to go.  Believing that he will be capable of taking care of himself, his band members (played by Arnett, Armisen, and Cooper) abruptly kick him out of the band, leaving him furious. Twenty years have passed after his rock star fantasies are destroyed and works as a telemarketer for a small company around the ‘burbs of Cleveland.  He gets fired after he tackles someone who put a track from the band’s new CD on the computer. 

Just when Fish has finally given up all hope and living with his sister and brother-in-law (Lynch and Garlin), he hears that his teenage nephew (Gad) needs a new drummer for his high school rock band (including Superbad’s Stone on bass and Geiger on guitar and vocals) called “A.D.D.” in order for them to play at the Prom.  They reluctantly make him the newest member of the band, and things go well until he hits a student at the prom with his drumstick, and get booed off.  One day while practicing in the nude via webcam, Fish’s niece puts his end of the practice session on YouTube, becoming a viral video across the globe.  Opportunity knocks at the door after a short time when manager David Marshall (Sudeikis) flies in from L.A., gives the band a one in a lifetime experience, and Fish a chance to reclaim the Rock God throne he always thought he’d be worthy of, and taking the young band along for the ride of their lives across the country.

“Rocker” is destined to become somewhat of a hit within the next few months.  The acting in the movie was great.  I don’t think one person went over the top when playing their role.  What I was most surprised about was how up-and-coming comedian and Daily Show correspondent Demetri Martin was able to bring enough laughs for extremely short cameo as a music video director.

Of the new talent in the film, it was none other than Gad and Geiger who stood out the most.  Josh Gad in the film reminds me a lot of Jonah Hill, not because of resemblance to him, but because of his quick one liners.  Concerning Geiger, he is already an up-and-coming musician, who may just become one of the hottest new pop/rock singers within the next few months after the movie is released.  His singing reminds me a lot of vocals and songwriting of White Stripe’s Jack White, John Mayer, and (ugh, I can’t believe I’m saying this) the Jonas Brothers.  I can easily see him as possibly one of the next big stars in the industry in the near future.

This is a feel good film for the rock god in all of us.  Whether it’s everyone’s facial expressions, Pete Best’s short cameo in the beginning, or seeing Fish climbing the roof of Vesuvius’s van like Ben Stiller’s Mr. Furious does up the wall during the climax of Mystery Men, you will come out of the theater feeling happy.

The Rocker opens on August 20th

*****

Netflix, Inc.