Will salvation lie via his sister’s son Matt’s school band called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or through Matt’s mate’s MILF (Mother I’d Like to Fuck) mum (Christina Applegate)? Or did watching ‘School of Rock’, perhaps, tip off our hero about the recuperative power of rock, cross-generational inspiration and self-knowledge?
Of course, it’s one of the peculiarities of modern movies that their heroes seem sublimely and conveniently unacquainted with contemporary films. Likewise, Peter ‘Full Monty’ Cattaneo directs this likeable, if unoriginal, rock comedy as if Richard Linklater’s film never existed. Wilson has the pudgy face, sweat band and faux anger but not quite the same manic charisma as Jack Black, and Cattaneo may lack Linklater’s ensemble dexterity but, nevertheless, ‘The Rocker’ is an enjoyable comedy-drama, with a welcome, almost low-key, sobriety that adds to its quiet charm.
Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky’s script is workaday, but Cattaneo sidesteps its inadequacies by concentrating on characters and performances, downplaying the obvious rock wannabe posturing and the film’s predictable gross-out elements, and handling the romantic sub-plot with a welcome lack of self-consciousness and over-accentuation. As a movie, it may not rock, but it rolls along nicely enough.