Movie Review by Dr Kuma
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Flemyng, Dominic West, Timothy Spall
Director: Stephen Herek
Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) worships singer Bobby Bears from the heavy rock group Steel Dragon. By day Chris lives with his understanding parents but by night he fronts his own ‘tribute’ band, Blood Pollution, who cover all his hero’s greatest hits.
Chris takes his passion very seriously and becomes such a perfectionist that the rest of the band kick him out. They think that Chris is taking the Bobby Bears role too seriously and that he can’t draw the line between fact and fiction. How wrong they are. In this movie, fiction becomes fact as the real band spots Chris and asks him to replace Bobby as front man of the band! Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, but the movie is based on a true story that appeared in The New York Times about a tribute band member that became part of the rock group he had been emulating for years.
THIS IS SPINAL TAP without the real comic backbone, but it works very well. The first half of the film is very well observed with a very witty script to match. It’s when it all takes off for Chris that the cliches come thick and fast. Obviously the first to suffer is long time girlfriend Jennifer Aniston, who, although at first is a willing participant in the whole rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, soon realises that she has lost hold of Chris, not only as his manager, but as his soul mate. Chris has been renamed Izzi (not Ozzy) because it sounds more rock ‘n roll, so she is just as confused as he is in finding what is left of the old Chris after several months on the road. Everything is thrown into the pot – groupies, drugs, hotel trashing and of course, no ‘rockurama’ would be complete without the old TV thrown out of the window scene. The director, Steven Herek has of course given us the band ‘Wyld Styllions’ from BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, so he really knows how to capture that air guitar moment. As I mentioned, before it careers off into the predictable, this is the perfect way to let your hair down.
The Brit supporting cast are all, excellent. Jason Flemyng is good while he’s on screen as is Dominic West and Timothy Spall as the tour manager, but are all heavy rock bands really British? They are in the movies. Hello Cleveland!
If you want to know how it all ends, listen to a copy of the Johnny Cash record ‘Ballad of a Teenage Queen’ which gives the entire plot of the movie in two minutes, including the rather predictable ending. Jennifer Aniston is fine as Emily although she looks set to be type cast, as she exchanges not one but two kisses with the same sex. She should be careful; she’ll get a name for herself.
All in all the rock references (ACDC will be horrified) and the casting (Rod Stewart’s ex, Rachel Hunter, plays one of the rock bands wives) are all perfect and played for all there worth. Mark Wahlberg gets back on track after the disaster of PLANET OF THE APES with a very believable performance. It should be, he’s been there before.
Summary: You’ve heard the tune before but it’s a good cover version.