Middling comedy 'The Rocker' tells the story of a never-was office worker who follows his dreams as a rock star, but with a catch: he's drumming in his nephew's high school band.
Rainn Wilson, best known as Dwight Shrute from the US 'The Office' TV show, doesn't have much to work with as the goofy, immature lead, Robert 'Fish' Fishman. On the brink of success as the drummer with glam metal band Vesuvius, they unceremoniously drop him before they hit the big time. Seething and bitterly disappointed, he spends the next 20 years living in the shadow of their astronomical success while working in a dreary call centre.
Things go from bad to worse when he's fired from his job and his girlfriend leaves him, so he is forced to bring his meagre belongings to his sister's home and crash there. But as it turns out, his nephew Matt (Gad) and his band, ADD, need a drummer for their high school prom performance and he's their best option. Dubious at first, the angsty lead singer and songwriter Curits (Geiger) and similarly cynical bassist Amelia (Stone) take him on board.
The band make an unexpected breakthrough when a Youtube video of them becomes a viral success, and soon Hollywood is knocking on their doors in the form of a smarmy, jargon spouting record company agent called David Marshall (acted with aplomb by '30 Rock's' Sudeikis.).
So they hit the road, chaperoned by Curtis' mother (played by an underused Applegate). Fish gets to live out the wild rock star lifestyle he spent his whole life pining after, while the rest of the band tackle a variety of teenage issues. Things come to a predictable head when ADD And Vesuvius (who now have amusing phoney British accents) come together at an arena concert in their homeland of Cleveland.
The comparisons to the much superior Jack Black vehicle 'School of Rock' are inevitable and it comes across as a sorry take-off. Wilson is eminently likeable, but has borrowed too heavily from his much more hilarious 'Office' character. The audience is left wanting more screen time for 'Arrested Development' star Will Arnett, who plays the shaggy haired lead singer of Vesuvius. Emma Stone seems to spend most of the film with her mouth agape at Fish's stupidity while Teddy Geiger does the moody musician shtick well.
As much as the cast talented ensemble cast make the best of the weak material at hand, they just can't make up for the diluted, patchy script and poor plot. It almost seemed like the scriptwriters saved all their energies for the ultra sleazy Hollywood agent, who fires out the one-liners with abandon.
'The Rocker' is predictable, over-sentimental and lacking in any true spirit of rock and roll.