She's a New York model hoping to launch an acting career; he's a sensitive New York singer-songwriter looking to snag that elusive record deal. They both come to Los Angeles in search of their dreams and, in, the process end up finding each other.
That's the gist of Undiscovered
, an entirely dispensable, soapy caricature of a love story that comes complete with a jukebox full of music industry cliches plus Ashlee Simpson
's big feature film debut.
Unleashed by Lions Gate at a time of year when its target teen female audience is going to be preoccupied with back-to-school shopping, the film will unlikely be more than a blip on the boxoffice charts but is bound to pop up on an MTV or VH1 movie night, where it really belonged in the first place.
For his feature directorial debut, Irish video director Meiert Avis
, whose body of work includes a number of defining U2 videos, including the Grammy-winning Where the Streets Have No Name
, returns to that clip's L.A. setting, albeit one where, thanks to John Galt's script, characters have Spelling-ready names like Brier Tucket and Luke Falcon.
The former, played by Pell James
, is the fresh-scrubbed aspiring actress, and the latter, played by Steven Strait
, is the hunky, brooding musician who shares an apartment with a bulldog who rides a wicked skateboard (played by Tyson the Skateboarding Bulldog).
It's meaningful glances at first sight for Brier and Luke, but there are the inevitable complications. Brier is theoretically still involved with Mick (Stephen Moyer), a philandering British rocker with an appetite for twin groupies, and she has promised her brassy surrogate mom of an agent (Carrie Fisher
) not to make the same mistake again.
Also, in a bid to generate a little career buzz for Luke, Brier and her new best friend, Clea (a subdued, unadorned Simpson), enlist the help of Josie (Shannyn Sossamon
), a paparazzi magnet of a Brazilian model, and the resulting media attention doesn't go unnoticed by Garrett Schweck (Fisher Stevens
), an obnoxious record producer who signs Luke to his label.
In an attempt to keep it real, the production takes advantage of such locales as the Mint and the Troubadour, but though the location scouts have come up with something more welcome than the usual stock shots of the Hollywood sign, the scripting lends it all the gritty authenticity of a temporary tattoo.
Throughout it all, the young actors emote meaningfully, while the older actors, including Peter Weller as a legendary impresario who dispenses Bob Evans-worthy nuggets of wisdom from behind his sunglasses, appear to have been left to their own, character-driven devices.
Now if you could have spent the entire 90 minutes just hanging with that skateboarding bulldog, you would have got yourself a movie.
Credits: Director: Meiert Avis
Screenwriter: John Galt
Producers: Michael Burns, Bic Tran
, Marco Mehlitz
, Michael Ohoven
Executive producers: Joe Simpson, Michael Paseornek
Eberhard Kayser, Tom Rosenberg
, Gary Lucchesi
, Harley Tannenbaum, Jordan Schur
Director of photography: Danny Hiele
Production designer: Philip Duffin
Editor: David Codron
Costume designer: Jen Rade
Brier Tucket: Pell James
Luke Falcon: Steven Strait
Euan Falcon: Kip Pardue
Carrie: Carrie Fisher
Clea: Ashlee Simpson
Josie: Shannyn Sossamon
Mick Benson: Stephen Moyer
Garret Schweck: Fisher Stevens
MPAA rating PG-13
Running time -- 97 minutes