The Rocker (2 stars)

The Rocker

(12A) 102min


Twenty years on from being dumped by big haired ‘soft-cock rock’ 80s legends Vesuvius, drummer Fish (Rainn Wilson) still burns with the indignation of the holy. While crashing at his sister’s house he agrees to be the drummer for his nephew’s band ADD. When one of the band’s videos becomes a phenomenon on YouTube (thanks in no small part to Fish’s penchant for witless exhibitionism) the band set out on tour. Fish realises that this may be his last chance to live his dreams.

Obviously developed with Jack Black in mind, Peter The Full Monty Cattaneo’s lukewarm music biz satire is clearly a work of compromise. Written by veterans of both The Larry Sanders Show and The Simpsons, scored and composed by Chad Garden State Fischer and starring the much beloved (by the US public) second string star of the American version of The Office, on paper The Rocker looks like it should be a blast.

And yet, like Cleveland, Ohio – the city in which it is largely set, there is something dysfunctional, charmless, obnoxious and deeply sexless about The Rocker. Shifting between spoof to gross-out comedy to hard-nosed satire, the film feels both tonally distracted and ill-conceived. Christina Applegate and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin pop up to provide some zest to proceedings with little success, and ultimately all one is left with is an unfunny, slight but not unpleasant portrait of nihilistic optimism.

General release from Fri 17 Oct.

The Rocker

  • 2 stars
  • 2008
  • US
  • 1h 42min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Peter Cattaneo
  • Written by: Ryan Jaffe
  • Cast: Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Teddy Geiger, Josh Gad, Emma Stone

Despite being a conscientious and passionate big haired 'soft-cock rock' drummer, Fish (Wilson) is dumped by 80s legends Vesuvius on the eve of their signing to a big label. Twenty years on he agrees to be the drummer for his nephew's band ADD, and they soon set out on tour. Dysfunctional, charmless and deeply sexless…