ReelTalk Movie Reviews  

New Reviews
Jurassic World Domini...
Jazz Fest: A New Orle...
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue ...
more movies...
New Features
Poet Laureate of the Movies
Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks
Score Season #71
more features...
ReelTalk Home Page
Contact Us
Advertise on ReelTalk

Listen to Movie Addict Headquarters on internet talk radio Add to iTunes

Buy a copy of Confessions of a Movie Addict

Main Page Movies Features Log In/Manage

Rate This Movie
 Above AverageAbove AverageAbove AverageAbove Average
 Below AverageBelow Average
Rated 3.02 stars
by 1528 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Wahlberg Shines As ROCK STAR
by Betty Jo Tucker

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I could write the following sentence --- except under duress --- but here goes. Mark Wahlberg deserves an Oscar nomination this year. His electrifying performance in Rock Star took me completely by surprise. As an ardent fan who becomes lead singer of the heavy metal band he idolizes, this former model and hip-hop artist oozes energy and charm. I actually feel like taking back all the negative things I’ve written about him in past reviews, including my complaint about his failure to project any feeling for the fisherman he portrayed in The Perfect Storm. I admire this new Marky Mark.

Do I know anything about rock groups? Not really, but like the character Jennifer Aniston plays in this fast-paced movie, I recognize talent when I see it. Aniston (from television’s Friends) shines as Wahlberg’s longtime girlfriend/agent --- a woman who believes in her lover’s ability to become a big star. No wonder this loyal manager wants her client to write his own music instead of doing an imitation of Bobby Beers, the popular front man for Steel Dragon. Watching Aniston stick by Wahlberg’s character after he wows fans as "Izzy," the new Bobby Beers, was painful for me, especially during a raunchy sex and drugs orgy scene. Despite all those flippant remarks her character tosses off to everyone at the party, Aniston’s soulful eyes reveal a wounded psyche trying to deal with too much excess. It’s a brilliant piece of work.

In one of my favorite scenes, Wahlberg and Aniston sing together as members of a church choir. At the end of the hymn, Wahlberg belts out a "Hallelujah" to end all hallelujahs. Aniston looks at him adoringly, and even the choirmaster is amused. I was too.

It’s hard for me to believe Wahlberg performed his musical numbers so well here. "I had never really listened to rock or metal," the young actor admits. "My background as a musician was pretty different than what is portrayed here, and I thought it would be a challenge. Just walking around in those tight pants and being comfortable enough on stage to move the way these guys did --- that was a challenge right there."

According to producer Toby Jaffe, Wahlberg immersed himself in the character. "His dedication was amazing --- he would typically work a twelve-to-fourteen hour day, after having arrived on set hours early to rehearse stage choreography or work on guitar and vocals," he explains.

Fortunately, Wahlberg’s intense rehearsing paid off handsomely. Long hair flying and loud voice snarling, he dances and prances across the stage like someone born to be a heavy metal rock star of the 80s. He mesmerized me right along with those screaming fans and sexy groupies depicted in the film.

I applaud director Stephen Hereck"s (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) decision to cast real-life musicians such as guitar virtuoso Zakk Wylde, formerly of Ozzy Osbourne’s band and now lead guitarist for Black Label Society, as members of the Steel Dragon band. "In the various movies about rock and roll I’ve seen over the years, invariably there are actors portraying musicians," he says. "There always seems to be a certain edge and validity missing from their performances." Not so in Hereck’s film.

Comparisons seem inevitable between Rock Star and Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical movie about a young journalist’s experience on tour with a rock band. Although both comedies deliver serious messages, they are very different films --- each compelling in its own way. Almost Famous focuses on the problems of being an objective critic, while Rock Star shows how living a dream can become a nightmare.

(Released by Warner Bros. and rated "R" for language, sexuality, and drug content.)

© 2024 - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Website designed by Dot Pitch Studios, LLC