This was utter poop. I expected so much more. I guess Rainn Wilson can only play one character well. What he does with Dwight Schrute is amazing, but he was terrible in this. Another comedic actor who I once thought great, Will Arnett, appears in this waste-of-celluloid as well. I had so much hope for Will after Arrested Development, but he has really disappointed me in movies like The Brothers Solomon and Blades of Glory (a film in which I was doubly-disappointed because of Jon Heder's failure to successfully expand his comedic breadth). Arnett seems to only be able to play the spoiled rich playboy well (and in that he has no competition; see him basically reprise his genius role as GOB in Let's Go to Prison, RV, and Monster-in-Law). In short, The Rocker rolled over (and died).
Let the Music Play
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 08/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Rocker" is a surprisingly enjoyable movie, with engaging performances, jokes that are suited for the material, and a fairly solid premise. I was consistently interested in what was going on, and I actually cared about the characters. In a sense, it's like a sports movie, in which we root for the heroes to fight the good fight and emerge victorious. I'm hard pressed to say it was any better than it wanted to be, however. Had this story been told dramatically, it probably would have been much more powerful; the rise to fame is not without its turmoil, especially when the celebrities are teenagers. The idea of an adult drummer leading a teenage rock band from the garage to the arena is full of emotionally charged possibilities. Many of them weren't explored because "The Rocker" was made as a comedy. But that's okay. It still works.
The story begins in 1986, just as a popular heavy metal band called Vesuvias finishes a gig in Cleveland. Despite their success, the drummer, Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson), is unceremoniously kicked out of the band. He swears that he'll make it no matter what, but when we flash forward twenty years, it's clear that things haven't worked out as planned; Fish spends his days doing the tasks of a soul-crushing desk job. When he's fired for unruly behavior (namely attacking a coworker for playing the new Vesuvias album), he's forced to leave his apartment and move in with his disapproving sister, Lisa (Jane Lynch), her thrill-seeking husband, Stan (Jeff Garlin), and their quarrelsome children, Violet (Samantha Weinstein) and Matt (Josh Gad). Matt and his high school friends Amelia (Emma Stone) and Curtis (Teddy Geiger) have formed a rock band called A.D.D.; after weeks of trying, they will finally have their first gig at the prom.
But there's a problem: the drummer was suspended from school and grounded by his mother. With little resources available, and with only one day to go until the gig, Matt asks Fish if he would be willing to once again pick up his drumsticks. Fish accepts, and when prom night arrives, everything goes smoothly. At least, it does at first; things go wrong when Fish ruins A.D.D.'s rendition of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." When the smoke clears, everyone decides to give Fish another chance, but only if he can get them another gig. Then comes the night all four members practice with each other via webcams--Fish, not realizing the device on his laptop is a camera and not a microphone, sits completely naked at his drum set. "Hello, YouTube," says Violet maliciously, watches everything on her computer.
Before anyone knows it, the video known as "The Naked Drummer" is an Internet sensation. It isn't long before a scummy L.A. agent named David Marshall (Jason Sudeikis) enters with promises of fame and fortune. Thus begins A.D.D.'s Midwest tour, in which they open for other various bands. Hopefully, this will pave the way to more serious venues, maybe even their first solo gig. Of course, nothing like this can happen without some trouble along the way; Fish, hoping to loosen up the other members, encourages reckless behavior, like destroying hotel rooms and attending wild parties (by some miracle, the issue of alcohol never comes up). While all the parents recognize that Fish is a bad influence, Curtis' mother, Kim (Christina Applegate), believes that the kids should follow their hearts. She volunteers to stay with the band for the rest of the tour to keep an eye on things.
At a certain point in the film, Fish is faced with a very tough decision. I won't reveal what it is, but I will say it creates the first real rift between him and the rest of the band. The question is raised: Was Fish always meant for a life of rock and roll, or is he just a sloppy, irresponsible dreamer that refuses to grow up? One could ask the same thing about most music superstars, which is why it's almost impossible to get an answer. Some are famous because they got lucky while other have actual talent. It seems that everyone in A.D.D. is talented enough: Fish certainly knows his way around a drum set; Amelia's good with a guitar, and Matt can really work a synthesizer; Curtis is a natural songwriter, although one wonders if he'll ever get past his abandonment issues. His father left him when he was only four, and he's been brooding about it ever since.
If this movie is, in fact, giving us a message, then it's probably the most obvious one we can think of: we have to do what we love and not let anyone stand in the way. We're also told about sticking together no matter what, since a band is essentially like a family. In this case, it's a family that doesn't want to "grow up"; they want to eat, breathe, and sleep music without becoming corporate-run zombies that sit behind desks staring at computer screens. Fish suffered that fate for twenty years, making a living but not being alive. All he wanted was to have a good time, and he finds that passion once again helping his nephew's band. The movie itself shares that same passion for fun, which is a nice change from some of the raunchier immature comedies released over the past couple of months ("Step Brothers" and "Drillbit Taylor" come to mind). "The Rocker" is funny without being excessive, and it actually tells us a story we can believe in. While it wasn't made as a drama, there are moments that are a bit more thoughtful in their approach. The fact that the filmmakers knew when to let the humor simmer down tells me they took their work seriously."
Kind of Sweet, Completely Weird, But Fun.
Kelly Klepfer | Iowa | 03/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dwight" from The Office fans should find enough Dwight in this film to satisfy. Those of you who can't stand "Dwight" well, you may not find The Rocker experience a great one. The story is amusing enough. Twenty years previously, Fish (Wilson) is the drummer for the band Vesuvius. Good news for the band, a big label wants to sign them. Bad news for Fish, the president of the label has a drummer nephew who will be the band drummer. Fish never gets over this slight. As the band Vesuvius grows in popularity, Fish grows in bitterness. After losing his job, girlfriend and apartment he moves into his sister's attic. His nephew has a garage band with a gig at the prom. They lose their drummer and, well, you can figure it out from here.
Surprisingly clean, there are no sex scenes, the language is tolerable and low-key. However, there is a scene with an angry mother who shares the fact that her son drew a male body part on a female teacher's face....which is a very funny scene, but contains the anatomically correct word several times. There is also a band manager who is very free with come-on's and has a sexually oriented potty mouth. A scene of Fish drumming naked becomes the YouTube hit -- The Naked Drummer -- and propels the band to popularity. Viewers are treated to a whole lot of naked man rear shots.
The humor level is moderate. Like I said, you probably need to be amused by Dwight to fully appreciate Fish's humor. He has a very unique delivery, sweet blended with doofusy sarcasm/nastiness. There are several amusing one-liners and situations that are laugh out loud including quite a bit of physical humor. Christina Applegate delivers some great sarcastic lines. The writing is good. The songs are easy to listen to and I really liked their sound. Solid friendship, do-the-right thing and forgiveness themes run through the film. Fish is a classic 80's rocker who likes the party scene, including the trashing of hotel rooms. The three younger band members are annoyed with his boorish behavior and that's a nice refreshing change from the usual teen movie."
Go back to Cleveland Cleveland!
O. Rios | Texas | 03/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i keep seeing these reviews and remarks that The Rocker is a rip off of Jack Black's The School of Rock.
expect for a line or part here or there, The Rocker stands on it's own merit and is completely awesome, just like The School of Rock.
Robert Fishman, aka FISH was the drummer for the band Vesuvius before they hit legendary status. When the manager asks the band to fire Fish and replace him with the Producer's nephew and get the big contract, they oblige and Fish is out.
20 years later, Vesiuvus is the biggest band in America and Fish is bouncing from job to job feeling sorry for himself that he could have and should have been the drummer for Vesuvius, even naming a couple of their songs before they hit big.
He's fired from his current job after getting into a fight with a co-worker who puts on the newest CD of Vesivus, which Fish doesn't want to hear.
He dumps, or rather, is dumped by his girlfriend so he moves in with his sister, played by Jane Lynch (Role Models, 40 Year Old Virgin). His nephew Matt is in a band called A.D.D., and they are scheduled to play at the upcoming prom. The band includes signer-songwriter Curtis (Teddy Gieger who actually is a real life musician) and gutiarist Amelia (Emma Stone, Jules from Superbad). Their drummer is suspended from school, can't walk the graduation line, and is grounded by his mother, so the hunt begins for a new drummer.
With all options exhausted, they ask Uncle Fish, and he agrees to play drums at the Prom after a heart to heart with his nephew Matt. He shows up rock star style with backstage passes and without ever practicing, rocks the drums and band starts off awesome, but during the king-queen song, Fish gets overexcited being that it was the first time he had played drums or in a concert in over 20 years, and flies off on a drum solo during a slow dance and ruins the band's performance.
Feeling bad, he meets with the band a couple of days later and tells them that they are good and that their songs need to be heard, so he proposes a deal to get the band a gig with himself as the lead drummer.
Fish gets the gig, but in Indiana (the story takes place in Cleveland), so the kids cop up a fake story and Fish "borrows" his sister's car, she calls the cops, the kids get grounded, and Fish gets kicked out of his sister's house.
She keeps asking him to grow up, but as he says, "you can never take away the dream".
The band continues to practice, as Matt is good with computers and sets up 4 different webcams so they can continue to all practice despite being all grounded, but Fish, being old school, thinks the camera is a microphone and plays the drums completely naked!
Matt's sister sees the video and puts it on Youtube and BANG........Internet sensation.
They get signed to a contract and start touring, and i don't want to give away the story, but it's awesome, really enjoyable.
Christina Applegate (Curtis' Mom) and SNL's Jason Sudeikis (plays Joe Biden on SNL) also come out the movie with Jason playing the role of David Marshall, the band's manager. It's hilarious watching Jason's character trying to hit on Christina Applegate, and his lines are funny, like "yeah well, your body's changing." LOL!!! ;) (inside joke-you need to watch the movie to understand). My favorite line was the John Lennon line.
Great movie overall, the soundtrack is awsome, Rainn Wilson is AWESOME and his drum playing is authentic. What makes the movie even better is the authenticity of the music, because Teddy Geiger, who plays Curtis is actually singing the song, and the 2 Vesivus songs that come out in the movie also come out on the soundtrack.
I know The Rocker didn't do so hot in the theaters, but I really liked this movie. it's very original (based in part on the story of Pete Best, original drummer of The Beatles before they fired him and before the Beatles hit it big. Best BTW, was replaced by Ringo Starr.
but overall, great movie, great songs, great comedy, good clean Rock movie."
"Wow. I never realized that, like, real life is so boring."
J. H. Minde | Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York | 04/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rainn Wilson plays Robert Fishman---"Fish"---the left-behind drummer for the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame big hair band Vesuvius, who was dumped just as the band got its first real break.
Fish spends the next twenty years working 9 to 5 and brooding over his bandmates' betrayal. He never touches a drum kit again until his teenaged nephew, in a band called Attention Deficit Disorder, begs him to fill in for the band's absent drummer.
Fish agrees. He gives the lead singer, Timothy Geiger, a few new arrangements and some lyrics, and within months, A.D.D. is the biggest act around with a hit record and a national tour. Although Fish quickly readopts his hardcore rocker lifestyle, his young bandmates act as a sea anchor, calming him somewhat.
All is well until the band's manager convinces Geiger to dump "the dinosaur," and Fish finds himself once again relegated to the bargain bin. But A.D.D. is not Vesuvius, and they quickly lose momentum without their sparkplug. Although begged to return, at first Fish is embittered, especially when he discovers that A.D.D. is to be the opening act for Vesuvius's world tour. But in the end, his love for his young bandmates overcomes all.
This is a fine, fun, and goodnatured film in the vein of SCHOOL OF ROCK, and is well worth a bowl of popcorn and a Sunday evening."
LOVED IT !!!
C.C. from Florida | 08/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a "Feel Good" comedy. It came on HBO one morning that I happened to be off work and I was bored so I decided to give it a shot. I didn't have any expectations. I was pleasantly surprised that this movie was awesome !!! My boyfriend and I both loved it. Our kind of humor, great cast and story line. It had us laughing out loud. It's great for teens and adults of any age. We're between 30 and 40 (: We both felt great and even found ourselves laughing the next day thinking about scenes from the movie. I'm buying it today so the rest of my family including my son can watch it because I know they will LOVE IT !!!"