The art of the comedy film has been taken to many different heights and an extreme amount of lows in my lifetime. I’ve laughed hysterically at films that are truly funny and I’ve barely giggled at films that tried way too hard to be amusing. There have been those flicks that made my sides ache from cracking up so much, but then there were those that I laughed at because they were simply so incredibly stupid. Just because someone gets a few laughs in a couple supporting roles, it doesn’t mean they deserve their own vehicle to drive down Comedy Lane. Well, Rainn Wilson just grabbed a hold of the steering wheel and crashed the bus right into the Tried Too Hard dead end.
Vesuvius is the quintessential eighties rock band that has it all going for them including a great sound, awesome songs, and the cool hair. After being approached by a music rep, the band has a chance to sign a long term deal as long as Lex, Trash, and Kerr get rid of their other bandmate Robert “Fish” Fishman. Fish knows the rest of his band will do the right thing and they do when they decide to toss him out and sign the deal. It is a little bit more then a shock to Fish as it turns into a complete downward spiral that would send him to the lowest points of his life.
Fast forward to twenty years later and Fish is now hopping from crappy job to crappy job and sticking it out in a nothing relationship with a woman that doesn’t really love him. His mind hasn’t strayed far from his past accomplishments and he always dreams of what he could have had in the way of fame, fortune, women, and music. Those aspirations begin to see a new light after Carol dumps him and Fish moves into his sister Lisa’s attic since he had run out of places to crash. Lisa’s son Matt decides to ask Fish to join him and his “band” A.D.D. for a few gigs as their drummer and soon a phenomenon is born. Their rehearsals and gigs leak out onto the Internet gaining them cult status and giving Fish the opportunity to be everything he always wanted to be…an eighties’ rock star.
The Rocker isn’t a film that I would place in the category of the Scary Movie franchise or any of those other overly awful spoof films that are continuously hitting theatres, but it’s really not all that funny. The story has a decent enough premise behind it to come through with flying colors like Blades Of Glory which actually took about three viewings for me before I started finding it funny. A big difference between the two films is that Will Ferrell and Jon Heder already had their funny lead roles before and were able to stand on their own two feet again. Rainn Wilson is getting his first lead comedy role here and he fails at bringing about the laughs and good times that one would come to expect from a film like this.
It is hard to even keep watching the film at times because there are those moments when such long periods of time exist between each funny scene that it gets boring. Oddly enough, I felt like turning it off halfway through and popping in my copy of The Wedding Singer because both films kind of run on the same page except Sandler pulls off the disgruntled singer a lot better. It’s just not enjoyable and never really did the job of getting me sucked into the story or had me laughing enough to wonder what big chuckle would come next.
The Rocker is shown in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and while it looks great; that doesn’t really matter too much.
Things also sound really quite good with the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, but then again hearing everything clearly isn’t a priority with something as bad as this.
Audio Commentaries – The first commentary track consists of director Pete Cattaneo and Rainn Wilson. Wow, this is extremely annoying. They talk about nothing except what is happening on screen and other times they talk about nothing at all. They both act as if they are sixteen and just met a girl for the first time. Ugh!
The second track is with actors Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger, Emma Stone, and Jason Sudeikis and it is just as worthless as the first track. This group also just talks about what is happening on screen or simply discussing something entirely random that makes no sense or isn’t the least bit entertaining. These have honestly got to be the worst two commentary tracks I’ve ever heard and I can’t believe they’re both on the same DVD.
Deleted Scenes – Ten deleted scenes which could have been left in or kept out; no big deal either way.
Gag Reel – Here are your flubbed lines, ad-libbing, and curse words that are bleeped out for some reason. There is a whole bunch of laughter too from the cast and crew but not much else. (9:50)
MTV Panel – Josh Gad, Emma Stone, and Teddy Geiger work with MTV for an interview with some of the others in the film. Josh was on a satellite feed from Louisiana where he was filming and the other actors were sitting together to discuss The Rocker. Technical difficulties kept Josh from really being involved and then he gets mad and hilarity ensues. Well, not really. (5:51)
Matt Gags – These are gags played by or on Josh Gad. Yay (eyeroll)! (2:36)
Pod Casts – Four different podcasts that show Rainn Wilson hosting a show called “Book Chat.” His guest is actually Slash from Guns N’ Roses fame and they talk about Slash’s book and The Rocker and bore me. (10:04)
Vesuvius Gags – Bloopers from the van scene with Fish and Vesuvius. Why could all these bloopers not be put into one gag reel? I mean, why have three unfunny special features instead of just one? (4:08)
Pete Best Interview – For those that don’t know, Pete Best is the original drummer for the Beatles before Ringo Starr came in. Essentially The Rocker is kind of his store. Best talks about the film and his story and all that. (6:44)
Vesuvius PSA’s – The band minus Fish and added the new drummer sit around doing quick public service announcements for random things. (1:11)
Rainn Wilson Office Rocker – This is basically everyone begging Wilson for a guest spot on The Office. (3:31)
Behind The Band – Vesuvius – A mockumentary on the band which is also dull. (2:41)
Rock Tales – The cast discuss their dreams of being or not being a rock star. (6:21)
“Rock Beat With Fish Fishman” – Wilson is in character as Fish and they follow him around and do a kind of video diary on him. (2:31)
“I’m Not Bitter” Music Video
Fox Movie Channel Presents…In Character With The Rocker – Rainn Wilson is sitting in a booth at a restaurant and talks about the plot of the film. That’s it. (2:15)
The Music – This is a look at all of the music in the film from who plays it, how good they are, and how it fit in to the film. (11:15)
Digital Copy – As with most Blu-ray films coming out now, the entire second disc is devoted to a digital copy you can take (or preferably not) on the go.
Trailers – Marley & Me, Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, Babylon A.D., Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, and College
Good God almighty this just sucks. There is a laugh once in a while, but it barely happens enough to merit anyone watching this. Catch it one of the fifty thousand times it will undoubtedly come on TBS or TNT in a year, but never spend money on purchasing this DVD or renting it. The Rocker is not a good film in any genre you try to throw it in…comedy, music, nothing. And feel for me please because I had to watch it through three times to listen to the commentaries and that made me want to bash my head in even more. The only thing that kept me going was that I knew it was all almost done, but then there were more extras. And after that? Even more special features. Special features that are not funny, not informative, and just as dull as everything that came before it. If anyone ever asked me to watch this film again, then I’d go as far to find my copies of Grim Reaper or Creepshow III and watch those. They have to be around somewhere…unless Hurricane Ike thankfully took them.
20th Century Fox presents The Rocker: Born To Rock Special Edition. Directed by: Peter Cattaneo. Starring: Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Emma Stone, Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger. Written by: Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky. Running time: 102 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: January 27, 2008. Available at Amazon.com