Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hair-Metal Band Film Hits Sour Note

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hair-Metal Band Film Hits Sour Note

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Marino, Times-Union music writer

* 1/2 out of 4

Though set in 1985, the plot of Rock Star is based on the real-life story of Tim "Ripper" Owens, a one-time singer in a Judas Priest cover band who became the frontman for Judas Priest in 1996. The band members reportedly want to distance themselves from this picture, and from their fictionalized likenesses in the band Steel Dragon.

Moviegoers should consider keeping their distance, too.

Rock Star focuses on Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg), a man who takes his Steel Dragon tribute band seriously. When his guitarist gets lazy playing a particularly raunchy squeal, for example, Chris is apt to stop rehearsal and produce a Steel Dragon tape, just to remind the poor boy how it's supposed to sound.

The music, Chris says, deserves nothing less.

One day, tired of Chris' micromanaging, the hair-metal cover band boots its singer, only to watch on television as the real Steel Dragon holds a press conference to announce Chris' hiring as its new lead singer.

With Chris' new position comes an obligation to choose drinks, drugs and groupies over his plain-Jane girlfriend, Emily, played by Jennifer Aniston.

Similar screenplays have yielded two good-to-great movies in the past few years, but Rock Star director Stephen Herek captures neither the pathos of Boogie Nights nor the wistfulness of Almost Famous, leaving his characters stuck in an emotional hinterland.

After an ugly night of drugging and shagging, for example, Chris and Emily decide not to discuss what happened (or who they might've incidentally slept with). They appear dazed when they're supposed to be having fun, then they absolve themselves of any guilt the next morning.

In Boogie Nights, we get the sober realization that hard living has consequences lingering long after the last buzz wears off. …

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