Rock Star (2001) from Brainscan, Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Brainscan's comments in white:

Four commonly recognized elements are lighter than air. Two are hydrogen and helium. The other two are Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston.

Put either Wahlbergum or Anistonium into a celluloid product and it's not the same as having nothing at all there. Professionals can work around empty space and fill it with their own personalities. But these two elements exist, occupy the space and in the end contribute only their lightness.

Three Kings, Boogie Nights and Perfect Storm are prime examples for Wahlberg, and Office Space nicely illustrates the lightness of Aniston. Say what you might about Office Space, it is peopled with carefully crafted, eccentric personalities that stick with you. Even the secretary in the first scene who answers the phone time and again with the same phrases and squeaky intonation is a work of art. Aniston's character, however, is a cypher, a nought, a zilch. Watching her performance was like aiming a modern guided weapon: see it and forget it.

So someone wondered what would happen if you mixed Wahlberg and Aniston. And the answer is Rock Star (2001). Lighter than air, the whole thing, but oddly enough it is elevated not one inch above ground level. Things go on you just don't care about, conflict ensues between our two principals (conflict without reaction) and all comes out sorta kinda okay in the end.


There is actually quite a bit of female nudity, but all from anonymous groupies and hangers-on.

Natalie Raynes and Jennifer Rovero play sunbathing topless beauties.

Timothy Olyphant, as one of the fading rock stars, shows his buns and pubic hair

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • full-length commentary

  • "backstage pass" - a making-of documentary

There are girls everywhere in the movie, as you would expect in a story about rock musicians, but the exposure is minimal. Well, there is this one scene of a hotel room the morning after a party, with about a dozen half-naked babes lying around. A decidedly panoramic view takes away any chance to see much, however.

A note on casting. Hollywood is overrun with terrific looking young women who can act, but the producers went out and got Hefmates (and Rachel Hunter) to play these small roles and then didn't get their kits off. Isn't that why you hired them in the first place? Make it gratiutous, make it blatant, but get em nekkid. Words to live by.

Scoop's notes

This movie had a lot of potential in the premise, but didn't do much with it. 

Mark Wahlberg plays the frontman in a local "tribute band" which specializes in covering the hits of a national heavy metal group called Steel Dragon. He knows everything there is to know about Steel Dragon, every bit of lore, every note of every song, and his fantasy life in the band helps him get through his humdrum life as a copy machine service specialist. He is devastated one night when his associates boot him from the band because they want to stop doing tributes and start playing their own music. His depression is short-lived, however, when the real Steel Dragon calls him him and asks if he'd like an audition to be their new lead singer. He gets the gig.

Although fictional, the story was loosely inspired by a real incident, in the same sense that "Rocky" was inspired by a real club fighter who got to take on Ali. The model was Ripper Owens, a office supply salesman who replaced Rob Halford as the lead singer in Judas Priest.

Not a bad premise, but the rest of the movie is exactly what you'd expect, a visualization of "be careful what you wish for, because you might get it". The other members of the band have had decades to become jaded to their world of casual sex and equally casual intoxication, but Marky Mark is basically a decent guy who, although tempted by the life, knows that he doesn't belong in it, and he quits abruptly to return to his girl (Jennifer Aniston). I kept waiting for the movie to surprise me with some development that I didn't anticipate, but it never did.

Reviews were mixed. A very high percentage of the film's running time consists of performing and rehearsals, which may appeal to you more than it appealed to me, assuming that you are a devotee of groups like Metallica and Judas Priest.

Given my lack of interest in heavy metal, I felt that the movie didn't lift the satire to a high enough pitch to function as mockery, and it didn't have enough depth to function as a parable, so it isn't bad, but not more than "sorta watchable" unless you're a metalhead.

Tuna's thoughts

After a recent article talking about Aniston's steamy sex scene in this film, I took a look at it. It is a well made film with an ok, but very predictable plot, some excellent performances, lots of incidental nudity, and no steamy sex scene whatsoever. The scene they are referring to must be a rave after a concert, where we see several people kissing ... cut to the next morning with Aniston, supposedly naked, getting out of bed wrapped in a blanket, and walking through a room of passed out party-goers, mostly women, and mostly topless. Aniston has a pretty good pokie near the beginning of the film, and another not nearly as good in the sheet in bed. The plot, quickly, is rocker becomes huge star, nearly ruins his life with sex. drugs and rock and roll, then becomes a real human again. There were a few amusing moments.

Frankly, the music was such a turn-off to me, I spent a lot of time in fast forward. If you enjoy the music, you will probably be entertained by the film. C.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 2/4, BBC 2/5, Apollo 62/100

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers say 6.3 out of 10.
  • With their dollars ... It bombed. It grossed only $16 million, despite $38 million in production costs, a 2500 screen rollout,  and an extensive marketing effort.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "this film is a C. I think Ebert's two and half stars and IMDb's 6.3 sums it up pretty well. Not a bad enough movie to pan, but also not a good enough movie to recommend. You'll probably like it if you like that kind of music, but find it average or worse if you are metal-challenged." (Tuna: C)

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