A loose cover version of the life of Tim `Ripper' Owens, the office supplies salesman who replaced Rob Halford in Judus Priest, Rock Star mixes satire, morality tale and road movie to set viewers' heads banging.
Just how much is fact and how much is fiction beyond the core premise is anybody's guess, but it really doesn't matter. Most won't even realise that there's a sniff of authenticity to this heavy metal riff on All About Eve. It seems too much the stuff of American dreams, rock clichés and predictable narrative arcs to be true, and Stephen Herek's bright, snappy direction hardly tries to replicate `reality'. What's more, it's impossible to view the backstage squabbles, lascivious groupies, booze, drugs and rampant egos without thinking of other movies: Almost Famous, Still Crazy... and, of course, Spinal Tap.
The thing is, though, no one here is striving for greatness or fresh insight. All they want is a Friday-nighter that rocks - and taken as such it does. Mark Wahlberg is perfect as Chris Cole, the wide-eyed, wild-haired nobody who gets to fulfill his dream. The journey from innocent youth to jaded wreck is one Wahlberg's taken many times before and is clearly the role(s) he was born to play. Jennifer Aniston is also passable, even likeable, as his impossibly patient girlfriend, suggesting there may be a big screen career for her after all.
But Rock Star only really shines around the edges, where the incidental touches provide the humour: Timothy Spall's seen-it-all-before band manager; the pathetic fight between two Steel Dragon tribute bands; the groupies boarding the SD tour bus while the wives get bundled into a stretch limo...
None of this turns Rock Star up to 11, but you sure as hell won't want to pull the plug either.
The Slippery When Wet of muso-movies, Rock Star is overblown, silly and fun. Lots of fun. Mark Wahlberg regains his dignity after being out-acted by apes, while casting real musicians as his band mates helps with the on-stage stuff. Worth a spin.
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