In cinemas nationwide on 20, August
Don’t be discouraged by The Rocker’s, out August 20, slow start. Dangerously close to an unnecessarily extended SNL skit, the movie begins in the mid-80s with the young hair-and-metal band “Vesuvius” getting offered a record deal. But the record company wants Robert “Fish” Fishman (Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight Shrute) out. After slight protest from his bandmates (Bradley Cooper and SNL regulars Fred Armisen and Will Arnett) Fish is dropped and wallows in self pity for the next 20 years, his drum sticks untouched, as Vesuvius becomes as famous as Aerosmith.
After getting fired from his job he moves in with his sister, played by Jane Lynch, and soon joins his nephew Matt’s (Josh Gad) band. This is where the movie actually starts to get funny – the hair band joke is really tired. A you tube video of the band practicing via web cam – a concept lost on Fish who thinks it’s a microphone and subsequently practices in the nude – launches the band into stardom and they’re offered a record deal, and a summer tour.
The music industry “inside” jokes (like how bands adopt British accents to heighten their rock credibility) as played by actors fair better than the actor “inside” jokes as played by actual actors (like in “Tropic Thunder“). The bands manager (Jason Sudeikis) gets in a couple good raunchy one-liners like “Mother I’d Like to Make Sweet Love To” (as opposed to MILF) and Gad’s soft spoken, simultaneous confusion and support of his uncle’s beer guzzling, TV-throwing, ankle twisting, impromptu drum soloing ways, offers up some surprising LOL moments.
As a movie whose genre seems to be somewhere around “School of Rock” I couldn’t say it was necessarily better – because let’s face it, those kids were cute! – but it’s definitely as good.