Rock Star started out fine but ended up being somewhat of a bore. It tells the story of Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg), who begins the film in a band that pays homage and tribute to a band called “Steel Dragon”. He takes this job very seriously, ending up in an altercation with another band member that results in Chris’ departure from the group. He is called up by a member of Steel Dragon and is asked to audition for the lead singer position. No prize for guessing that he becomes the new lead singer.
After becoming this famous person, his life changes dramatically. Or at least, it’s supposed to. The “rockstar” lifestyle is one that typically involves a lot of vices. Chris starts partying heavily, drinking, taking drugs, living the life that everyone else supposedly dreams about. But this isn’t the character we saw earlier in the film; that character was a man-child living at home and not taking any risks in life.
Does stardom really bring such a change in people? I questioned that all throughout the film. I’m willing to be it’s not a 100% answer either way, and I’m supported by the film in this belief. Essentially the only tension that Rock Star gives us is whether or not Chris (now known as “Izzy”) will realize that living such a lifestyle will eventually be his undoing, or if he’ll come to terms with it and change the way he lives. Again, no prize for guessing what happens.
All throughout the film, I didn’t feel one bit of drama. There were no scenes where there was tension, nor were there any that had depth. I felt completely neutral during almost every part of this movie, which in a drama is a problem. There needs to be something there to keep you wanting to watch, and that isn’t something we end up getting. I’ll give you an example: Chris gets to become the lead singer after a single audition. He gets this job after singing maybe a quarter of a song. It’s just too easy for him. You could have easily introduced tension by making it seem like he wouldn’t get the job.
But of course, that wasn’t to be, and serves as a good indication as to how the rest of the film will be. Things come and go without any effort, which means that it’s incredibly different to care about anyone involved. No effort seemed to be put into creating situations or characters that we should care about, and as a result, there is no drama. There’s also no humor or life to the characters, with the possible exception of Timothy Spall as the band’s manager.
The one good thing about Rock Star is the moments where Mark Wahlberg actually gets to take the stage and rock out. He doesn’t perform his own vocals, (I guess that he didn’t want people to remember his time spent in an actual band), but he has the presence of a rock star. He looks like he’s comfortable on-stage, which means that we can get into these moments. The lip-synching is also quite well-done, which means that we don’t have that take us out of these scenes. Even the actual songs didn’t both me. It’s not really my type of music, but I could get into it. It was like watching a concert that was taped on TV. It felt real, largely thanks to those performing on-stage.
Apart from Wahlberg’s stage presence, there is little to praise in terms of performances. Jennifer Aniston, who wasn’t a big movie star at the time, plays a similar character as to the one on Friends, except it’s a poorly written, under-developed and ultimately pointless character. Much of the supporting cast were played by actual musicians, and I suppose that could make some people giggle with glee. They’re also unimportant though, appearing likely just so that there wasn’t a need to pay more than one actor per role.
You know, at the beginning of Rock Star, I was entertained. Some of the parts were fun to watch. There was a group dynamic with the tribute band that was interesting, but it’s forgotten about as soon as Chris becomes a star. There’s a press conference that announces the new lead singer, and it cuts to a shot of his old band watching. And then we never see from them again. There’s a vague scene that is kind of reminiscent of one that took place with Chris’ old band, but apart from that, they end up being completely excluded. And considering their scenes were some of the best parts, that wasn’t a good idea.
Rock Star is a bore, one with a plot that you’ll easily be able to figure out how it ends way before you should. (In fact, by reading this review, you’ve probably already figured it out). There’s no drama, no tension and nothing to keep you watching. Wahlberg has some stage presence as the lead singer of the band, but it can’t save this movie from being an incredible bore. There’s no draw for the audience, and for a drama like this, you need one.