"For what it's worth, "Rock Star" is an enjoyable fantasy yarn about an aspiring musician who makes it to the big time, only to realize that it's not all about sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Sure, the concept is surely not fresh, and the lack of purpose that plagues the movie keeps it from truly soaring. But despite its flaws, it manages to entertain through its bright cast, wonderful execution, and delightful sense of humor. Carrying the lightweight story on his shoulders like a guitar case full of memories is young Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg), a twenty-something grunge rocker who still lives with his parents, and gets his jollies by recreating the sense of excitement an audience gets from attending a Steel Dragon concert. Insisting that his band is a "tribute band" rather than a cover band, Chris idolizes the band, particularly the lead singer, Bobby Beers, whom he looks, sounds, and acts like on stage. With the support of his mother and father, as well as his longtime girlfriend Emily (Jennifer Aniston), Chris finds comfort in his fanaticism, perhaps too much comfort. His drive to recreate each song specifically and correctly makes him overbearing in the eyes of his band members, who, after an on-stage brawl, decide it's time for Chris to walk. In any other movie, this would be the complete story, ending with reflections by each of the characters on how their experiences together shaped the rest of their lives. But in the world of "Rock Star," this is only the beginning. Just when Chris begins to give up his dreams, he gets a call from none other than Kirk Cuddy, one of Steel Dragon's guitarists, offering him a chance to audition as the new lead singer. He heartily accepts, flies out with Emily to meet the band and begins to get into the life of a rock star, all the while paying little notice to his past life, which slips away more and more each day. This cautionary turn of events that begin to cloud the jubilance of Chris's lifestyle is a well-known tactic used by many other films that bear the routine grass-isn't-always-greener-on-the-other-side warning. The film shows us both the glamour and the depression of this lifestyle, from the excessive drinking and parties where Chris is surrounded by adoring female fans, to a scene in which Emily is told by the wife of another band member that since Chris is a rock star, "the normal rules don't apply." At times, however, I got the feeling that the movie is warning against the rock-and-roll way of life it has been embracing all along. So what is the film's position? Neither, really; its inability to take a stand for or against this lifestyle is bothersome only if you allow it to be. If you can put this inconsistency aside, you'll find that there's a whole lot of fun to be had with the movie. Some impressive work is done in creating a fictional 80's rock band, complete with long, tossed hair and mascara during performances, screaming guitars and singing that resembles a screeching tire. It may not be as authentic a recreation as, say, the era of "Almost Famous," but it gets the job done with fashionable results. Mark Wahlberg has always been a versatile actor, and proves his worth with this role. As Chris, he manages to convincingly segue from a controlling perfectionist obsessed with precisely recreating Steel Dragon, to a legend at the top of his game and the bottom of his personal life. It's nothing stellar, but he carries it so well, with all the brazen charm of an 80's rock idol/sex symbol. Of the band members, Timothy Spall's character is the most memorable, a humorous mix of wit and longing for the stability of his past. Jennifer Aniston practically steals every scene she walks through, crossing moments of real emotion with some of the film's funniest one-liners. At one point, a groupie begins talking about G-strings gaining more respect for exotic dancers, to which Aniston replies, "Nothing says 'respect' like cramming a strip of Lycra right up your a--."There's an air of familiarity that hangs over the movie that is hard to ignore, but what keeps it from becoming too formulaic are its wonderful cast, its comedic wit, and its interesting premise. There's nothing totally hardcore about it, but it hardly matters, since we already know this is going to be an uplifting movie rather than a downbeat adventure of self-discovery. As a cautionary fantasy, "Rock Star" is too routine to remain with one for long, but while you're there, it's quite an experience."
GOOD FUN, WORTH WATCHING!!!
Mr. N. Carnegie | Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK. | 02/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First of all let me start off by saying that although Rock star didn't do very well at the box office, I thought it was a lot of fun and it made for an enjoyable hour and three quarters viewing. Loosely based on the life of Tim `Ripper' Owens, the office supplies salesman who replaced Rob Halford in Judas Priest, Rock Star combines satire, morality, romance and a good old fashioned rags to riches storyline.So what's the plot? Salesman and ordinary working stiff Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) and wannabe rock star has been obsessed for years in his devotion to British heavy metal band Steel Dragon. As part of a tribute band, he is derided by his older brother who feels he should get a real job and his devotion to mimicry is so much that even his fellow tribute band members are sick of him, and they eventually dump him. Comforted by his patient and devoted girlfriend (Jennifer Anniston) Chris swears that he will prove them all wrong but he even he is shocked when he is invited to audition as the replacement singer in the band he adores. Of course he wins the gig and so begins a journey through the world of a rock idol, full of drugs, groupies, drink and general excessive behaviour. I'm not quite sure why this movie wasn't that successful. Sure it's not the greatest movie you will ever see and it offers no original insight but there's also very little to dislike about it. Critics may complain that it's neither full on satire such as `This Is Spinal Tap' or that it is full of clichés but this is a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously and does not try to portray reality. Mark Wahlberg is perfectly cast as Chris Cole and Jennifer Anniston gives a very pleasing and likeable performance as Chris's loyal girlfriend, whilst some of the supporting turns (particularly from Timothy Spall as the seen it all before manager) are excellent too. Stephen Herek's direction is perfectly paced and unlike most modern movies it is not overlong and it feels shorter than it actually is. It has some truly excellent moments and you could do much worse than to check this out on a Saturday night."
One of my favorites of 2001!!!!
Jason Davis | Charlottesville, VA USA | 01/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a must for your collection, especially if you're fan of BIG HAIR ROCK. I grew up with the type of music this film is based on. I thought Mark Wahlberg did an amazing job of capturing the essence of a Heavy Metal frontman. He had the perfect swagger and look. Even if you aren't a huge fan of Metal, I'm sure at one time you've fantasized about being a rock star or some type of entertainer, right? I'm sure you'll be able to relate to the story of a guy who sings for a tribute band of his heroes, eventually getting the call to front the ACTUAL band. Jennifer Aniston and the cast of real life rockers like guitarist Zakk Wylde and Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins are all great too. Oh and by the way... the soundtrack CD is also excellent, with original music from the film's band, Steel Dragon and classics from KISS, Bon Jovi and others. For a fun film ride I enthusiastically recommend ROCK STAR! Enjoy!!!"
David Felder | Richmond, VA | 12/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember seeing the preview to this movie at the theaters months before its release. I got goosebumps. The music sounded great, and the content looked good, but when the preview was over, I expected the movie to cater to only a small percentage of the population. I also expected it to suck.When I finally saw Rock Star, I couldn't believe how much I liked it. Yeah, I was a head banger in the 80s, and becoming a rock star was my dream, but this was, by anyone's account, a good movie. It basically has everything: good actors, a great soundtrack, and a plot that will put a smile on anyone's face. One might expect the movie to get "ugly" simply based on the content, but there really was no downside. It was actually quite uplifting.If you like fun movies, consider this movie. If you like 80s rock, this is a must have!"
Not Worth It
HollyGoLightly | Upstate, NY | 02/13/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was interesting to watch for a night, but NOT own.
Walberg pulls it off (even vocally, according to the credits) as lead singer in a tribute band, turned famous by a reversal of fortune. The band he once covered asks HIM to be their new lead singer. The motto of his life on stage being "I was once just a fan like you, staring at posters of "Steal Dragon" on my wall, and now I'm living my fantasy!". Hip Hip Hooray for Chris (Walberg). He is the only part of this movie that works. The script lacks severely in many places. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? You are never quite sure. I laughed through the first 25 minutes, relishing Chris's scenes with his older brother who is a cop, but soon the movie lost it's entertainment value.I was also disappointed with Jennifer Aniston...she could never quite convince me she wasn't Rachael Green in 80's clothes. Her role as Chris's girlfriend should have been more sexy. Maybe Charlize Theron, in heavy make-up could have pulled it off.I think the most fun I had in the movie was looking for Mark Walberg's "third nipple" through the body make-up (it's true! I swear). He was topless through most of the scenes and still sexy even clad in leather and mascara. Now that's entertainment.
(It's hard not to be sarcastic about this movie)If the casting, script, and directing were better, this could have made it to four stars. I think the initial plot was humorous(I hope it's supposed to be), and I think Walberg is phenomenal, but the movie was a huge disappointment with a fabulous soundtrack. It's a renter. Make sure when the credits run to the sound of "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's" music you take notice of all the guest appearances and song performances...there are some real surprises."