This first is about Mark Wahlberg, a punk kid convicting of assaulting a
man and costing him an eye. Instead of becoming a career criminal,
Wahlberg redeems himself, going on to fame and fortune as the leader of
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. When the group's sales begin to fade, he
finds a new line of work and even more attention as an underwear model
for Calvin Klein. Like so many other pop singers and models, Wahlberg
then decides to pursue a career in acting and, against all odds, he
becomes a full-fledged movie star. From street thug to matinee idol –
what are the odds?
The second fairy tale is about Tim "Ripper" Owens, an office supply
salesman from Ohio. In his spare time, Tim sang his heart out as lead
vocalist in a Judas Priest tribute band, hitting the stage nightly to
cover songs by his all-time favorite group. One day, he gets a phone
call from his heroes. Rob Halford, frontman for Judas Priest, has left
the group and the rest of the band, having watched a video of Owens
performing, want him to take Halford's place. From office supply
salesman to rock star – who would ever have thought?
"Rock Star" brings the two real-life fairy tales together, with Wahlberg
playing a character loosely based on Owens. The movie is nothing
special; once Chris Coles' (Wahlberg) fantasy turns real and he is
invited to join the British heavy metal band, Steel Dragon, the story
falls into a pattern that is oh-so-familiar to anyone who has watched
VH1's "Behind the Music."
Still, the early part of the film is a hoot and Wahlberg is delightful.
In fact, for the first time in his acting career, he carries the movie,
passionately defending his beloved band to others, nearly coming to
blows with a singer in another band over the authenticity of a jacket,
and unsuccessfully trying to contain his puppy dog grin during his first
photo session with Steel Dragon.
Alas, Jennifer Aniston does not fare so well. As Emily, Chris'
girlfriend and manager, she is supposed to be more level-headed than her
beau, but at times she comes off overly parental, more like a kindly
schoolmarm than a lover or business person. Aniston has an undeniable
talent, but it is not tapped in this film.
"Rock Star" might have seemed brighter had it not been released in the
long shadow of "Almost Famous," which covers many of the same themes
with far more skill. As is, the film is a minor pleasure, with a strong
first half, a tepid second half and a hell of a performance from Mark
Copyright © 2001 Edward Johnson-Ott