A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy -- which stars Rainn Wilson of the popular sitcom The Office and singer Teddy Geiger -- has a tween-targeted marketing campaign and is likely to appeal to kids 10 and up. The jokes tend to be of the slapstick/physical variety, but there are occasional strong words like "s--t" and "bitch," a couple of kisses, and several references to "scoring" with the opposite sex. But as summer comedies go, this one is fairly tame.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson) is a flabby, unemployed man in his late 30s with a broken dream. Back in 1986, he was the drummer for Vesuvius, a hard-rock band that fired him just before they hit the big time. More than 20 years later, Fish is still seething with jealousy and resentment. His fortunes finally improve when his nephew, Matt (Josh Gad), reluctantly asks Fish to join Matt's four-person high-school band, ADD, to play the prom. After a few other small gigs, ADD gets signed by a label and goes on a Midwestern tour with lead singer Curtis' (Teddy Geiger) mom (Christina Applegate) along to keep the kids -- and Fish -- in line.
Is it any good?
This is an amusing -- if not memorable -- musical comedy. Wilson -- who's pitch-perfect as kooky Dwight on The Office -- is a talented comedian, but he's not as hilariously manic (or musical) as Jack Black, so THE ROCKER pales in comparison to School of Rock. Singer-songwriter Geiger naturally knows how to be ADD's handsome, brooding teen frontman (he looks like a young, longer-haired James Franco), but when he's not in musician mode, his acting feels forced.
On the plus side, as Amelia, the band's beautiful-but-insecure guitarist, Emma Stone (Superbad) proves she's ready to take her place as one of young Hollywood's talented go-to actresses. Supporting actors like Jeff Garlin and Jane Lynch (who play Matt's parents), Applegate, and Jason Sudeikis as the band's greedy manager, lend their considerable comedic chops to their roles.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how fame and celebrity are typically depicted in movies. Based on what you see in the media, how does a "star" behave? Do Curtis, Matt, and Amelia act like stereotypical rock stars? What about the members of Vesuvius? The ADD teens' parents were all supportive of their band. Is that realistic? Kids: What do you think of ADD's music? Also, what's the most important thing Fish learns from the kids, and what's the most important thing they learn from him?
- In theaters: August 20, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: January 27, 2009
- Cast: Christina Applegate, Rainn Wilson, Teddy Geiger
- Director: Peter Cattaneo
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: drug and sexual references, nudity and language.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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