The Rocker Review

24 Aug

Movie Poster

Movie Poster

Last night I went to see “The Rocker” a comedy about a washed up 80’s drummer helping out his nephews band by playing with them at the prom. Now, in the theater last night I felt old. I was born in 1981 and was well over the average age of the patron in the theater. However, these 14-16 year olds that filled the theater weren’t alive in the 80’s and had a hard time following some of the jokes. I’m sure they still enjoyed the movie, but having some knowledge of the 80’s could help.

“The Rocker” starts out showing Robert “Fish” Fishman (Rainn Wilson) as the drummer of the 80’s glam/hair band “Vesuvius.” Fellow members of the band include Lex (Will Arnett), Ker (Fred Armisen) and Trash (Bradley Cooper). These three are in the movie for only a short period of time, but are hilarious. In their opening 2 minute performance they hit every one of the patented 80’s rocker dance moves! Ker even had a pink bass guitar! After the concert Vesuvius’s agent comes in and sends “Fish” out for beer and then tells the rest of the band that they have a deal, but they will have to drop “Fish” in favor of the label president son, Sticks (Lonny Ross).

After initially refusing, the band decides that “Fish” will be alright and they agree. “Fish” doesn’t take the news very well which leads to the very humorous car chase scene. Next we move 20 years into the future with “Fish” working in a call center of sorts when his co-worker Aziz (Aziz Ansari) is struggling to open up the brand new Vesuvius album. After he starts playing the album, “Fish” attacks Aziz which leads to his firing. He then goes home and gets dumped by his girlfriend. “Fish” is forced to move into his sister’s attic. His sister (Jane Lynch) shows “Fish” tough love and tells him to get a job and move on.His nephew, Matt (Josh Gad), is an overweight nerdy type kid who sees his band’s (A.D.D.) opportunity to play at the prom as his only chance to meet girls, but when their drummer gets suspended from school for the results of bringing in hash brownies, it seems all hope is lost. The other members of the band are the angst ridden lead singer/song writer Curtis (Teddy Geiger) and hot hip/punk bass player Amelia (Emma Stone).

The band brings in a few different “drummers” for auditions, all of which are lame. One is actually a beat boxer another one used exclusively loops which leads to a funny moment from “Fish.” They eventually ask “Fish” to play even though he has not played the drums in 20 years. The gig goes great until the very end when “Fish” goes a little crazy and ruins the Prom King and Queen dance.

This leads to “Fish” begging to get back into the band by promising a gig. The gig leads to “Fish’s” sister kicking him out of the house, so he goes and lives in the boiler room of a Chinese take out place. As you’ve probably seen from the commercials, this is when they set up their rehearsal network and “Fish” plays naked. At this point I saw WAY more of Rainn Wilson than I would ever have wanted. The rehearsal is observed by Matt’s sister who posts it on YouTube where it becomes an instant hit.

This leads to the band being signed and going on the road. At first we see “Fish” partying hard and destroying hotel rooms, which is taking a toll on his 40 something year old body. It also leads to the band going to jail and being bailed out by the kids’ parents! In a compromise Curtis’ mom, Kim (Christina Applegate), agrees to chaperone the band on the rest of the tour. It turns out she was a rocker in her day and knows what it was like to lose out on her dream.

During their rise to fame there is a scene where the band makes a music video with a “renowned” director. The director is played by comedian Demetri Martin (hilarious!) who decides to have them record the video backwards and mouth the words backwards so when they play it forward it will look correct. Later he is seen directing them to move a tiny bit “not a regular bit or even a small bit” so that he could film them “stop action” style. I love Demetri’s stand-up, and loved this scene. Find some Demetri here.

The crux of the story comes when the up and coming band, A.D.D., is asked to open for Vesuvius at their Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame induction. This leads to “Fish” leaving the band, cutting his hair (this was a painful scene for me) and getting a “real” job. The label hires a new drummer to which Matt says “It’s like Abercrombie is making people now.”

Eventually they get “Fish” back and you get to see A.D.D. rock “The Q” (however, the location they use is defiantly not “The Q“). A humorous scene takes place when A.D.D. are walking down the hall and run in to Vesuvius. Kerr recognizes “Fish” as someone they knew “when we were American.” For some reason the whole band had picked up English accents (I’m guessing this is a knock on Madonna’s new English accent).

Overall this movie was very well written, is extremely funny and has a good plot. It’s never in doubt that everything will work out, but that is ok. I won’t spoil it, but Vesuvius’ final performance is a great moment in rock comedy!

Quote of the movie: David Marshall (Jason Sudeikis), their agent, is in the studio and after hearing the new upbeat “I’m Not Bitter” jam says “John Lennon just rolled over in his grave…to hide the boner he just got from hearing that song!”

I would give “The Rocker” a solid 3.5 out of 5. It was an awesome get away from the gray skies of Fay and is great if you need a laugh.

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One Response to “The Rocker Review”

  1. Tom Zammit December 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    What is the company name of the call center in the movie The Rocker?

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