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The Rocker tells the story of a failed drummer who is given a second chance at fame. Robert "Fish" Fishman is the extremely dedicated and astoundingly passionate drummer for the eighties hair band Vesuvius, who is living the rock n' roll dream until he is unceremoniously kicked out of the band. Twenty years after his rock star fantasies are destroyed, just when Fish has finally given up all hope, he hears that his nephew's high school rock band A.D.D. is looking for a new drummer. They reluctantly make him the newest member of the band, giving him a chance to reclaim the rock God throne he's always thought he deserved, and taking the young band along for the ride of their lives. Written by
Though it borrows liberally from its genre brethren, The Rocker showcases a keen sense of parody and heart with a powerful star performance from the Jack Black-channeling Rainn Wilson. The "naked drummer" doesn't stray too far from his Office persona, but the random foul-mouthed spurts and goggle-eyed expressions certainly add a welcome layer of comic ingenuity.
In 1986, Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson) drums for the popular rock band Vesuvius and a lucrative career seems destined to embrace him. However, a chance to play at a killer gig causes his bandmates to sell him out for fast fame, and the drummer is literally kicked to the streets. Twenty years later, Robert finds himself in a dead-end desk job with no hope of escaping his mundane lifestyle. But good luck and misfortune strike simultaneously leaving him jobless, homeless, and shacked up at his sister's house where the desperation of his nephew's rock band lands him a spot as their drummer. What starts off as a rocky, mismatched collaboration inadvertently becomes a rapid success and Robert, along with Amelia (Emma Stone), Curtis (Teddy Geiger), and Matt (Josh Gad) may finally get to live the dream they've worked so hard to obtain.
For his debut leading film role, Rainn Wilson manages a diverse blend of comedy and emanates the better qualities of funnyman Jack Black. Rainn keeps his character under control so as not to get annoying but remains erratic enough to evoke plenty of laughs. Most of the physical comedy (and nudity, unfortunately) belongs to the Office veteran who competently handles elaborate falls and crazed expressions with sincere enthusiasm. Spouting off random quotable gibes, Wilson utilizes a copious amount of offbeat one-liners and bizarre references that will result in a hearty chuckle for those attuned to the borderline-offensive brand of comedy.
While the primary band members fill their roles quite ably, a surprising amount of laughs come from the hilarious supporting characters and their moments of inspired lunacy. Most notable are Will Arnett as a crazed 80's rocker and Jason Sudeikis as an arrogant record label agent whose offensive pick-up lines never fail to amuse. Numerous cameos also fill the screen, from stand-up comedian favorites to famous musicians and anchored comedy character actors.
Though the whole cast turns in fine performances and Rainn Wilson conjures up a delirious beast of a drummer, The Rocker's downfall may be its heavily treaded subject matter. The cliché-filled plot resembles far too many others and even the rather unique pieces feel drowned out by the surplus of stereotypical events. What clearly rocks though is the hysterical frontman and a host of great cameos and fantastic supporting characters who bring an edgy absurdity to the whole affair.
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