Image courtesy of www.impawards.com
Steven Strait……….Luke Falcon
Pell James……….Brier Tucket
Kip Pardue……….Euan Falcon
Every couple years or so since the release of Fame in 1980 has seen teen movies focus on the idea of teenagers trying to become famous in the world of entertainment. From such immortal classics as Crossroads, Glitter and Raise your voice have come tales of people with big dreams of having their voice heard. The underdog raging to overcome the odds is a familiar formula in sports, so transposing it into the world of music is fairly simple. And in this vein comes another entry into the teen underdog story genre in Undiscovered.
Steven Strait stars as Luke Falcon, an aspiring musician who crosses paths with Brier Tucket (Pell Hames). Tucket is a model who wants to become famous and its love at first sight for these two. Both are headed to Los Angeles to seek success; Brier wants to act and Falcon wants a record contract. Brier gets accepted into an exclusive acting class where she meets Clea (Ashlee Simpson), who quickly becomes her wise sidekick. When Falcon’s career doesn’t take off as effectively as he wants it to Brier and Clea team up; they give a jumpstart to his career using the internet and their attractive friends to build him an audience. When it actually works and Falcon begins to grow from an art-house singer into a famous musician, Brier and Luke discover that being in love and being famous is a much more difficult proposition than previously thought. Insert the usual plot machinations, wash and rinse with an uneasy attempt at turning Strait into a leading man and take away any chance at chemistry between the principles of the cast and you have all the ingredients of a second rate romantic comedy meshed with an unoriginal, uninspired soundtrack.
Hames and Strait have little chemistry together onscreen and it shows. They have the look of two co-workers with little in common trying to get the job done as opposed to two people in love. Strait is clearly trying his best to generate something of interest, as he does create a relatively interesting character, but his partner is given little development and nothing original to do that it falls flat. The big dramatic overtones and plot points with the two don’t have any depth due to the lack of chemistry in the air.
It doesn’t help that Undiscovered is hampered by atrocious dialogue and a cookie cutter plot. It’s easy to predict, as most movies of the genre are, but it becomes so paint by numbers that it’s laughable. Toss in dialogue that is unproductive with the level of acting and the elements of a truly bad movie are in place. This is a shame as Steven Strait has too much presence and charisma for the sort of lackluster film he is provided to use as his first starring vehicle.
In many ways, Strait is just the right guy in the wrong role. Strait is a good actor and has his second strong showing in as many months (he was Warren Peace in Sky High) but he isn’t presented in the right light. Luke Falcon is a starving artist trying to get heard and yet he dresses like a modern day incarnation of the late Michael Hutchence. Strait is a good looking guy with his own style, Luke Falcon is the embodiment of every bad clichÃƒÂ© about a musician trying to make it. Strait is at his best when he’s allowed to shed the skin of Luke, most notably in the music scenes. When away from a microphone or a guitar and given the background of trying to craft a character with such a poor foundation is something he struggles when he isn’t in the more natural role of being a musician. On stage he’s electric, off it he’s unplugged.