Movie reviews: “Rock Star”

Virtually all of the reviews of Rock Star, starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston, compare it to either the spoof documentary This Is Spinal Tap or the autobiographical comedy Almost Famous — or both. Except for the performance of Wahlberg, the film fails to outshine the touchstones in the minds of the critics. Claudia Puig in USA Today compares it to still another film. After commenting that Rock Star is Spinal Tap “without the humor,” Puig says that the film eventually “becomes a head-banging, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll version of A Star Is Born. Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune asks, “Do we really need another movie to show us that rock stars are exposed to wicked temptations and treated like deities?” Jami Bernard in the New York Daily News writes that the movie “seems like a Brady Bunch episode in which the moral is that overnight success gives you a swelled head and makes you lose your friends.” (In fact, there was an actual Brady Bunch episode in which a Brady family member is picked by a talent agent to become a rock star.) But Bernard and many other critics give Mark Wahlberg (the former rap singer Marky Mark) high praise for his performance. “Wahlberg fits the role of putative rocker with ease,” Steven Rea writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times remarks: “Unlike his most recent work in Tim Burton‘s Planet of the Apes, Rock Star plays to Wahlberg‘s strengths — his hunky regular guy likability and an ability to play convincingly blue-collar.” Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe and Mail comments: “Wahlberg commands the screen in every frame.” And Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post praises not only Wahlberg but the movie itself, calling it “an unexpected pleasure.”