"Rocking a Little Too Hard"
It’s never too late to follow your dream, but sometimes you have to grow up in the process. So is the saga of Robbie “Fish” Fishman (Rainn Wilson of TV’s THE OFFICE), a drummer with the 1980’s heavy metal band, Vesuvius. After being replaced, he violently chases the band members through the streets of Cleveland like a relentless zombie.
Twenty years later (still sporting his rocker pony tail), Robbie works as an online customer service rep while his former band buddies have found continued fame and fortune. A fellow employee sitting next to him begins to praise their new CD. The mere mention of the name, Vesuvius, causes Robbie to twitch and contort (reminiscent of Moe’s reaction to the phrase “Niagara Falls” in the Three Stooges). Robbie has a meltdown, attacking his fellow worker, and, understandably, losing his job. His girlfriend throws him out of her apartment, leaving Robbie with the sole option of living with his sister and her family.
With no job and no money, Robbie settles into his new room in the attic, sleeping on an air mattress. His brother-in-law, Stan (Jeff Garlin), constantly reminds him of how successful he could have been with Vesuvius, which leaves Robbie even more bitter, disillusioned and dejected.
One afternoon Robbie hears his rather nerdy, chubby nephew Matt’s (Josh Gad) band, A.D.D., holding auditions for a new drummer. Horrified by the sounds of electronic drums (a real offense to any professional drummer), he bursts in on the band and pulls the plug. After the band finds itself in desperation without a drummer for their gig at the Senior Prom, Matt approaches his uncle Robbie, who finally agrees.
At the prom, Robbie shows up in full 1980’s heavy metal attire. On the final song, he gives an out-of-control one-man-show to the room full of shocked and disgruntled teens. A.D.D. leaves the prom in disgrace, and bandleader Curtis (Teddy Geiger), tells Robbie he has to leave.
Robbie goes to Curtis’ house to apologize to the band. While there, he meets Kim (Christina Applegate), Curtis’ mother. Robbie promises the band that, if they will allow him to play drums again, he will get them a gig. He begins a mad search for a gig, finally finding one at “The Tiger Room” in Indiana. But, the gig is in the next state, and the teenagers will have to lie to their parents (“tell them that we are at a church camp”). Robbie steals his sister’s van, and the group heads to Indiana in the middle of the night. Robbie’s sister reports the van stolen, and they are caught.
The band is banned from playing together, but, through the wonders of the Internet, they rig cameras to allow them to rehearse together online. Robbie, who has now been forced out of his sister’s house and is living in the storage room of a Chinese restaurant, can be seen from the backside, playing his drums stark naked. Matt’s younger sister puts the rehearsal video on “YouTube,” and the rest is history. The “Naked Drummer” becomes an overnight sensation, and A.D.D.’s catchy music composed by Curtis catches the attention of a record company and one of its glib managers.
The manager talks the group into signing with his company. After all parents are persuaded, the group departs on a bus tour. They are immediate stars, and are bombarded with all of the worldly by-products that follow rock bands (groupies, alcohol, paparazzi). Robbie keeps the groupies and the alcohol away, but he gets them in trouble and has a conflict with the band when they get a chance to open for Vesuvius, the former friends who betrayed him 20 years ago.
Helping THE ROCKER get off the ground is a talented cast and some pretty good songs, but it is pretty much a B movie. Though the movie depicts the hedonistic lifestyle of rock n’ roll, it does not always glorify it. Even so, there is excessive foul language, brief verbal sexual references, some other crude moments, excessive alcohol use by the adult protagonist, and strong elements of Romantic rebellious behavior. Some positive “feel good” moments help mitigate this negative content, but strong caution is still advised.
(RoRo, O, B, LLL, VV, S, N, AA, MM) Strong Romantic worldview with Romantic premise about finding fame, glory and personal satisfaction in rock music, with references to Devil horn signs used in heavy metal music between two adult men who get excited about it, crazy adult drummer calls rebellious girl “Daughter of Beelzebub,” a tongue in cheek observation to her rebellious attitude, slightly mitigated by admonishments to grow up and become responsible and scenes where adult man encourages fatherless teenager’s artistic interests in music and composing songs, to the point where he becomes a slightly positive father figure; 17 obscenities (including two “f” words, one of which is said kind of under the breath), two strong profanities, 11 light profanities, a couple vulgarities, man vomits and puts it in his pocket, some insults are hurled, and a reference in the dialogue to diarrhea; strong but brief slapstick humor includes comedic chase scene with man violently attacking passengers with drumsticks through the roof, man thrown off van but unharmed, fight in office, and man throws chair out of hotel window; brief sexual content includes euphemisms about getting women, two groupies visit backstage but adult shoos them away from underage band members, villain makes crude but false references about teenage singer’s mom and adult drummer; rear male nudity shown as totally naked man practices with band members through Internet connection and some upper male nudity; adult drummer drinks beer, gets drunk and wants to party, while other adults admonish him about never growing up; no smoking or drugs; and, teenage rebellion, teenagers are told to make up story about going to “church camp” to trick parents and steal car but they are caught and admonished, vandalism and adult protagonist acts irresponsibly but finds ways to better channel his obsession with the missed opportunities of his youth.
THE ROCKER is a movie about pursuing personal dreams of success and about becoming a more responsible adult. 1980s heavy metal drummer, Robbie “Fish” Fishman, was kicked out of a burgeoning rock band, Vesuvius, and forced to live in mediocrity and bitterness for 20 years. Through his teenage nephew’s band, A.D.D., he is given a second chance to use his talent and free himself from being labeled a “loser.” Robbie’s talent and integrity are ultimately validated, but not before he learns how to channel his excitement about being the rebellious rock star that he has always wanted to be. Rainn Wilson of TV’s THE OFFICE plays Robbie.
Helping THE ROCKER get off the ground is a talented cast and some pretty good songs, but it is a B movie. Though the movie depicts the hedonistic lifestyle of rock n’ roll, it does not always glorify it. Even so, there is excessive foul language, brief verbal sexual references, some other crude moments, excessive alcohol use by the adult protagonist, and strong elements of Romantic rebellious behavior. Some positive “feel good” moments help mitigate this negative content, but strong caution is still advised.