Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 109 minutes
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Sometimes a movie comes along that is worth dishing out $9 for thanks to one particular scene. Warner Brothers’ “Rock Star” is one of those films. Although the movie is entertaining in parts, one scene stands out amongst the rest and could very well be one of the funniest moments to come out of a movie this year.
“Rock Star” stars former pop star Marky Mark (I don’t care how many movies Mark Wahlberg has starred in, he will forever be Marky Mark in my mind) as Chris Coles, a man who spends his life vicariously living through his favorite rock star, Bobby Beers (Jason Flemyng). He dresses like Bobby, gets pierced wherever Bobby’s pierced and even can sing a high note like Bobby. While Chris thinks it’s cool, his friends and family think he’s insane. Their opinions change, however, when Bobby unexpectedly leaves the band Steel Dragon and the remaining band members call on Chris to fill his spot. Now, Chris is proving to the world that dreams can come true… even if you only dream about being someone else.
Loosely based on the true story of Ripper Owens, the office supply salesman who replaced Rob Halford of Judas Priest, “Rock Star” has all the cliches one would imagine the film to have: guy joins rock band, girlfriend can’t handle his new life, guy looses girl, guy slowly realizes love is more important than fame… you get the picture. It even seems like director Stephen Herek knows that viewers already know the story since the film is so fast-paced. While some of the schizophrenic cuts make sense– after all, rock stars’ lives are a whirlwind of events that they never seem to clearly remember– Herek litters the film with these quickly-edited sequences, which eventually causes one to get a headache rather than to be æsthetically aroused. Furthermore, Wahlberg’s character is never fully developed during the film (and the same goes for his relationship with Jennifer Aniston), making viewers wish that the scenes with the strobe lights were cut in order to make the story progress more smoothly.
Despite its flaws, screenwriters Callie Khouri and John Stockwell still manage to save “Rock Star” by writing a semi-entertaining script that not only provides the occasional laugh (for those of us who grew up in the ’80s anyway), but also manages to intelligently comment on the public’s obsession with celebrities. As we watch Chris live the life of his favorite rock star, we can only think of the millions of teenage boys and girls who go to school dressed like their favorite rock star and dream of becoming them. Fantasies are usually only worth living in your mind though, and “Rock Star” shows the price one can pay when he or she actually gets the chance to live the dream.
Another one of the film’s redeeming qualities is with its soundtrack. Unlike many films, the music in “Rock Star” plays a key part in the film since it is (after all) about a rock band. And even though ’80s rock is out, the “Rock Star” soundtrack will make you want to dust off your Twisted Sister vinyl rather than breaking it in two. The film features such classic rock bands as Bon Jovi and KIss, representing the best of ’80s rock and metal rather than the worst. Ironically though, the best songs in the film come from Steel Dragon themselves. And although Mark Wahlberg doesn’t sing the Steel Dragon tunes (Michæl Marijevic from the 80’s band Steelheart is who viewers will hear ripping through the electric guitars and drums), his stage presence as a singer is hard to ignore. Wahlberg’s role proves that even though the days of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch are far behind him, he’s still more comfortable performing on stage for a large crowd than he is performing in front of a camera.
When all is said and done, however, the real reason to see “Rock Star” isn’t for the commentary the film makes or to get a glimpse at the life of a rock star. The true reason to see this film is for one of the many outtakes that roll with the ending credits. I won’t give the scene away, but whether or not you actually like the movie this scene alone will make your ticket well worth the $9 you paid for it. So see “Rock Star” because you really have nothing to lose– and, like myself, you may even walk away somewhat pleased.
Posted on September 7, 2001 in Reviews by Heather Wadowski
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