THE ROCKER offers laughs and good vibes
The Office star Rainn Wilson moves to the big screen for this fairly conventional feel good comedy
August has featured an onslaught of broad comedy, and today's new release, THE ROCKER offers enough laughs and good natured spirit to recommmend. The movie has a fun premise—back in the big-hair metal days of the 1980s, drummer Robert Fishman (well played by Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight on NBC's The Office) gets kicked out of his bar band, Vesuvius, when the rest of the band gets a big deal from a record label.
Fast forward 20 years and Vesuvius is a huge Motley Crue meets Metallica band, and Fishman is working at a dead end job and hating his life. When his girlfriend kicks him out of the house, Fishman moves in with his sister, and, due to complications of the comdy screenplay varity, joins his nephew's band for a one-time gig at the prom. Fishman realizes that the reason he was put on the earth was to rock. Hilarity ensues.
OK, The Rocker is not This is Spinal Tap, as much as it wants to be. It's not even School of Rock, the Jack Black comedy from a few years back that had a similar feel. But The Rocker borrows a crucial element from the latter that gives it a winning tone—match a lovable schlub-loser with a band of LIKEABLE kids (in this case, high school seniors). Way too many teen comedies highlight obnoxious/pretentious youth culture characters. In The Rocker, the band (cleverly named A.D.D., though its catalogue emo-songs are instantly forgettable) of young rockers is pleasant, grounded, and genuinely nice. That makes a difference in making a light comedy watchable—the obnoxious and violent characters of Pineapple Express could have taken the chill pill that The Rocker's protagonists have swallowed. And Jason Sudekis scores a ton of big laughs as a two-faced producer whose vulgarity is so earnest that he shocks everyone around him every time he opens his mouth. Also solid are the members of Vesuvius, who show up in the beginning and end of the film—their on stage schtick at the film's climax provided one of the biggest laughs of the night.