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Rock Star

Rock Star

Based on the story of Tim Owens, a Judas Priest fan who became their lead singer, Rock Star tells the story of a wannabe who got to be.

Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) is the lead singer in a Steel Dragon tribute band (no, not a cover band, a tribute band - there's a difference). During the day he works as a photocopy repairman, but what he really loves is to belt out tunes by his favorite band. It doesn't hurt that he has a hell of a voice, but it does hurt that his bandmates don't quite see eye to eye with him.

After the band finally gets fed up, Chris gets booted, and his girlfriend/manager Emily (Jennifer Aniston) goes with him. Not long after that, Chris gets a call from a certain someone who invites him to audition for the real Steel Dragon.

From there, it gets pretty standard. Chris becomes a huge star and has to learn to deal with it. Will his relationship survive? Will he start to realize that fame and fortune aren't all they're cracked up to be?

The movie plays like a cross between a real movie and a VH-1 "Behind the Music" special. It does a very good job of combining them, and even features real musicians as the members of Steel Dragon.

Of course, its main problem is that it can't decide what message it wants to convey. Quite often, it tells you to follow your dreams, but just as often changes to the old "be careful what you wish for" proverb. Still, it is relatively entertaining.

It was a good idea to cast real musicians as the members of Steel Dragon. But even better is the casting of the two leads. Mark Wahlberg, being a former music star himself, is more than capable of playing the character. Jennifer Aniston is able to look like a perfect 80's gal, and a variety of emotions still manage to poke through all the crazy hair and makeup.

If anyone is familiar with the story of Tim Owens, or grew up listening to all those wacky 80's hair bands, Rock Star is a perfect nostalgic look at the era. Those who don't appreciate loud, heavy metal music and zany hair should probably steer clear.

Unfortunately, the movie didn't do well and didn't get very good DVD treatment, either, at least in terms of extras. The picture is pretty good and the sound is great, which I guess makes up for the lack of supplements.

The video is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and is quite good. A lot of the movie is pretty dark, since it takes place at a rock concert, so he picture is also (obviously!) quite dark. Fortunately, when you do get a chance to notice the picture's quality other than how dark it is, it's noticeably good.

This is the kind of movie that absolutely, positively must have great sound. Warner obviously realized this and gave it a great 5.1 Dolby Digital track. Outside of the concert scenes, there's not much use for it, but when there's a concert going on, you feel like you're right there. The music fills the room and makes your neighbours hate you, just like it should be.

The only extras included on the disc are a mediocre commentary by director Stephen Herek, a four minute promo called "Backstage Pass" (which they have the nerve to pass off as a making-of featurette), and an Everclear music video.

Rock Star, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
106 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16 X 9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Flemyng and Timothy Spall
Produced by Robert Lawrence, Toby Jaffe
Written by John Stockwell
Directed by Stephen Herek


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Updated May 13, 2006