There is an absolutely bizarre scene at the 25-minute mark of Mark Walhberg's new film, Rock Star.
It's the mid-1980s, and Walhberg is Chris Coles, the recently kicked out lead signer of a tribute band for the hair metal group Red Dragon. He is standing in the real Red Dragon's recording studios in a Los Angeles mansion about to have the audition of a lifetime.
It seems Red Dragon's front man is being thrown out of the group, and if Chris is good enough, he can take over.
The scene begins as Chris and his girlfriend Emily (Jennifer Aniston) are touring through the mansion, oohing and ahhing at every guitar, piece of clothing and jewelry on display. This is their Graceland, after all.
They finally get into the studio and find all the band members cheerful and eager to get him singing. That is, of course, all except one--the lead vocalist whom Chris is going to replace. Red Dragon is actually auditioning their lead singer's replacement while he is still in the room. WHAT?! That would be like a company interviewing for someone to be CEO while the acting CEO is in the room.
Despite this unbelievably ridiculous scene, Rock Star is not a bad movie by any means. It's occasionally funny--though not necessarily laugh-out-loud--and if a smile isn't on your face for most of its 102 minutes, there's something wrong with you.
The problem is that it's simply too by-the-numbers. The script doesn't try anything imaginative or anything daring. We watch the rise of Chris in his dreams to become a rock star and then his ultimate fall, which we were anticipating since we saw the previews four months ago.
As I watched Rock Star, I couldn't help but wonder where the film could have gone with the only unique moment in the film. If the movie had been about the original front man--who turned out to be gay and wearing a wig (the ultimate faux pas for the leader of a hair band)--it might actually have been interesting to watch. Instead, we have two very strong performances from Wahlberg and surprisingly, Aniston, in a very weak story.
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