Playing to the beat

Rainn Wilson’s one-man show formulaic, but fun

The Rocker
Starring Rainn Wilson and Christina Applegate. Directed by Peter Cattaneo. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0

I could have lived the rest of my life without seeing Rainn Wilson (you know, Dwight from The Office) naked. Really.

But what’s done cannot be undone. And that happens to be part of the moral of the story, which is about a former rock star stuck in the past.

The Rocker is chock-full of age and pain jokes, turning Wilson into almost a one-man show, as all of it is about, you got it, him. But what’s not so expected is the genuine relationships Wilson’s character, Fish, forms, despite his social ineptitude. He may be an overgrown child, but he does have some wisdom—at least when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll—to share.

Fish is the ex-drummer for rock sensations Vesuvius. In the 20 years since he was kicked out of the band, he yearns for the glory days, so when his high-school nephew asks him to join his band for a prom-night gig, he breaks out the sweatband and is ready to rock.

The thing is, this isn’t just an ordinary garage band, with a couple wannabe rockstars making mostly noise. The music is actually half decent, at least as far as pop/alt rock is concerned. Fish, while playing alongside teenagers, is almost at home because he never grew up, but also is able to pass along advice to the not-yet-sure-of-themselves young’ns.

Aside from the kids, who are relative unknowns, The Rocker is like an attack of the TV actors. Granted, most of the shows these guys come from are funny—The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Arrested Development, and heck, even Married With Children. So it’s kind of fun to see, especially Wilson, try to break the mold of his television character. He pulls it off with ferocious energy … and literally throws a TV out the window.

Parts of the film are hilarious—one character sleeping with his eyes open comes to mind—and others, like when Fish puts away his devil horns and instead offers some serious advice on life and getting over the past, are touching.

The film doesn’t venture into uncharted territory, but it’s fun to watch nonetheless.