The Rocker (DVD)

Robert "Fish" Fishman (Wilson) is a man on the edge. Initially that's the edge of great things because his big-haired 80s metal band, Vesuvius, is about to go stellar. In a matter of minutes, however, it's going to be the edge of a 20-year depression when the band's manager decides that Fish isn't the right drummer for the job.

The Rocker DVD

Thus starts the amiable, and yep, utterly predictable comedy, The Rocker. Flash forward 20 years and Fish is still bitter at what might have been. His life sucks. His old bandmates are selling out stadiums. He's stuck in dead-end jobs and relying on his sister's charity. Vesuvius are up there with Aerosmith. Inevitably though (this being a comedy rather than a Darren Aronofsky film), Fish gets a second chance thanks to his nephew, Matt (Gad) whose high school rock band needs a new drummer. Fish steps in alongside tomboy rock-chick (but underneath a ravishing beauty) Amelia (Stone) and navel gazing EMO lead singer Curtis (real life navel-gazing EMO singer Geiger) and, after one moment of Fish's bare-buttocked band practice becomes a YouTube smash, the band become overnight sensations.  

And, in the meantime, Curtis and Amelia fancy the pants off each other but are too shy to admit it and Fish learns lots about himself and grows up thanks to band chaperone (and mum of Curtis) Kim (Applegate). But hey, you guessed that. Or you would have done 23 minutes in or thereabouts. But it doesn't really matter. The Rocker is no classic but it clearly doesn't aim to be. This is an amiable film that's content to remain amiable. Sure, belly laughs are few and far between but it keeps you smiling (with the occasional chuckle) for pretty much all of its slightly overlong running time. To some extent it's a shame to see Cattaneo, the man behind The Full Monty, making films pretty much on autopilot, but it's hard to hate American Office star Wilson's shameless performance and any film that's so content to just be what it is, and that's an unpretentious, sweet and gentle comedy.

EXTRAS *** A decent little package for a decent little film. There are two audio commentaries: one with director Cattaneo and star Wilson; the other with "the band kids" — Gad, Geiger and Stone  — and Sudeikis, who plays manager David. There there are 10 deleted scenes, a Vesuvius "gags" reel, seven behind-the-scenes featurettes (including an interview with former Beatles drummer Pete Best, who has a cameo in the film), a music video for the song I'm Not Bitter, and some trailers.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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