The Rocker

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Forty-year-old Cleveland suit, Robert ‘Fish’ Fishman (Rainn Wilson of ‘The Office’), 20 years on, is still nursing resentments from his dismissal from subsequently super-successful rock outfit Vesuvius. A bit of a smoking volcano himself, the erstwhile drummer finally explodes in response to one too many jibes from his office colleagues following the (now pretentiously English sounding) hair metal band’s latest CD release, fights with his partner and ends up taking refuge in his sister’s attic overlooking the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

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.

By: Wally Hammond



Release details

Release date:
Friday October 17 2008
102 mins

Cast and crew

Peter Cattaneo
Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky
Rainn Wilson
Christina Applegate
Teddy Geiger
Josh Gad
Emma Stone
Jeff Garlin
Jane Lynch
Jason Sudeikis
Will Arnett
Howard Hesseman
Fred Armisen
Bradley Cooper
Lonny Ross
Jon Glaser
Jane Krakowski
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