If you're going to make a really good music film you have to nail the fictional band at the centre. This is Spinal Tap had the deliriously stupid but spot on Spinal Tap, a mixture of cock, rock and cliche. Almost Famous had the wonderfully believable Stillwater and even School of Rock knew it was music first, script and story second. With The Rocker the fictional band is ADD a whiny, Busted-ish, whiny, soft rock, whiny-pop band. Throw on some skinny jeans and they'd be spot on to the shit you hear on the radio then. The first mis-step this film makes is it treats bands like ADD with respect. Silly film.
1986 Cleveland. Robert "Fish" Fishman is the drummer in Vesuvius a cockrock band one half Guns and Roses, the other half Guns and Roses. Just as the band is about to make it huge the management (always the villains in music films) tell them they have to lose Fish. Not too reluctantly they agree. Fast forward 20 years and Fish still dreams of being a rocker depsite grinding out a miserable existence in a call centre. When his nephews band is minus one drummer Fish steps in. Will Fish's dream come true? Will he learn some nice lessons about stuff? Is Bono a cunt?
Yes, yes and no I'm sure he's a thoroughly nice chap really and he has nothing to do with this movie so I don't know why I brought him up other than for a cheap gag and to full some space while I think of a nice segueway into paragraph 3. The Rocker is the kind of film Will Ferrell would have made (bollocks to the nice segueway) and possibly done something a bit more special with. Although judging by his recent output its probably best Rainn Wilson stepped in as the expectation isn't there. Having not seen the American Office I was unaware of the preposterously named Rainn's shtick and judging solely on this I can see him getting work for a year or two. So best of luck to him.
He's the cause of most of the, admittedly few, chuckles but like with Ms.Faris in The House Bunny his earnestness wins through. Sadly the script isn't there to back him up. While there are some nice touches with references to Almost Famous and the like, they are given equal screentime to adverts for MySpace and Guitar Hero proving that The Rocker is quite definitely a music film for 'now'. And a music film about 'now' doesn't really appeal to me. Unless its about Laura Marling. I like Laura Marling.