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'Rock Star'

Metal meltdown Mark Wahlberg goes from stud to dud in horrible 'Rock Star'

Friday, September 07, 2001

By Ed Masley, Post-Gazette Pop Music Critic

So Jennifer Aniston is making out for, like, a minute with this hot chick, right? And yet, despite the presence of a scene I'd played out in my mind for years, the movie "Rock Star" is so painfully unwatchable, I can't help wishing I were home -- maybe burning my hand on the stove, or dropping that "Beatles Anthology" book on my foot (it's really heavy), or, I don't know, watching a "Suddenly Susan" marathon.

    Movie Review


RATING: R for language, sexuality and some drug content

STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston

DIRECTOR: Stephen Herek

CRITIC'S CALL: 1 star.


OK, it wasn't that bad. Brooke Shields can't do comedy. But it was worse than "Blue Lagoon," I do know that.

The problem is, it's corny. Relentlessly corny. Norman Rockwell shares a hug with Diane Warren at an Andy Williams show in Branson corny. Sure, it's got the kinky window dressing -- hot chicks kissing, group sex, groupies, dope and leather pants, to name a few contrivances. But Jimmy Stewart would've rolled his eyes at half the corn they try to feed you here.

The plot revolves around Chris Cole, a singer from Pittsburgh who's given the chance of a lifetime when his favorite band, Steel Dragon, flies him out to California to audition as the band's new singer after mutual groupie acquaintances show the metal vets a video of Cole in action at the helm of Blood Pollution, Pennsylvania's top Steel Dragon tribute band.

It's a wonderful life, indeed.

He gets the gig, of course.

But is the fast-track rise to stardom worth the life he threw away? Or are the normal people living normal lives the real stars in this crazy mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world? The fact that "Rock Star" even tries to answer such a corny question is its biggest problem.

But it's not the only one.

Mark Wahlberg is horrible here. And he's playing himself. He was the overnight sensation (Marky Mark) whose rise to fame had everything to do with being in the right place at the right time, which in Wahlberg's case meant being New Kid Donnie's little brother.

How can Marky, such a stud in "Boogie Nights," be such a dud in "Rock Star?" It would seem the once and future leader of the Funky Bunch is better suited to the porn than corn. Unlike his co-star Aniston, who brings some legitimate heart to the tear-jerking highlights of "Rock Star," Wahlberg fails to rise above the sap of a script that asks him first to teach a kid to change a peace sign to the devil-horns salute of heavy metal, then to stand on stage and give a speech about how "dreams come true."

I've seen that speech delivered by Christina Aguilera and that Ed Kowalcyk dude from Live. And every time, it sounds as corny as the time before, aside from which, if dreams come true, I've been dreaming for years that I would never have to hear that stupid speech again, so why am I still hearing it?

The one thing "Rock Star" does get right, though, is the music. The movie is set in the heavy metal '80s and the music is as bad as I remember it. The hair could be a little worse, though.

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