Rock Star tells us that our dreams can come true. The new film starring Mark Wahlberg also says that we may not like the outcome.
Whether what the film says is true depends on how believable the implausible premise seems to you. Do you want to be someone else and live his or her dreams? Or do you want to live your own life and follow your own heart?
Perhaps the theme would be better stated, ?Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.?
Fortunately, our protagonist doesn?t consider the depressing possibility until halfway through the movie. While Rock Star entertains by taking the viewer into a world of sex, drugs and rock ?n? roll ? so do a handful of other movies released in the last decade.
What makes Rock Star different is its ability to make the nonmetal fan enjoy grooving to 80s glam-rock music, all the while watching pyrotechnics transition one mildly entertaining scene to the next.
Although the subject matter of a disillusioned rock star should garner a more dramatic film, the silliness of the rock scene ? one that includes hermaphrodites and homophobics ? brings a lightness to a situation that would otherwise end on a bleak note. It appears the filmmakers intended to entertain, rather than provoke thought.
Before we enter a world ruled by maniac musicians with British accents, we are exposed to the underworld of cover bands ? you know, those groups of friends who get together when there is really only one talented member in the band. These guys bicker not only with themselves but with the local rivals as well that also believe they are the official cover band for the heroic rockers they all emulate.
At first, Chris Cole (Wahlberg) is a copy-machine repairman by day and an obsessed Steel Dragon fan by night. When he loses his gig as front man for a tribute band to Dragon (a fictional group), he is tapped to audition for the real thing. How convenient that Dragon front man Bobby Beers (Jason Flemyng) has also left his band.
So Chris and girlfriend Emily (a solid performance by Jennifer Aniston) hop on a flight to L.A. and start their new life in a world of which they only dreamed. Time goes by and Emily isn?t having as much fun as Chris and leaves. Then, after Chris transforms from giddy schoolboy to bitter rock star, he gets advice from Mats (a sleazy but funny Timothy Spall), the band?s road manager, that sets his head straight. In other words, Chris decides to live his own life, rather than the life of a character created by someone else.
Wahlberg?s return to the promise he showed in Boogie Nights and the maturity he possessed in The Perfect Storm make watching his performance bearable, if not also endearing. He?s like that friend of yours that finally wins top prize at the Star Trek look-alike contest and then realizes he needs to grow out of that phase.
Rock Star works because it?s about the characters, not the music. It?s a cute story that allows audiences to sit back and get transformed into this seemingly fictional world where people with long hair and bare chests live crazy, party-filled lives complete with indulgences and recklessness.
While it takes Chris a whole movie to figure out that becoming an idol isn?t what he thought it would be, the trip he takes audiences on is worth taking, even if the destination is somewhere they have been before.
? Rated R ?
William Albritton is a senior majoring in mass communications and is The Oracle movies editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org