A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the story is set in an L.A. music "scene," which means that characters drink, do drugs, and smoke. Characters seek fame, behave badly, cheat on each other, and fight briefly hand-to-hand; one girl is paid to seduce a young man. They use brief obnoxious language ("hard-on," "sucks", "screw"), argue, kiss, cuddle, and show romantic yearning, in handheld close-up (if you're averse to mobile framing, this film is not for you). One brief fight. The rock star phenom appears shirtless and sweaty on stage. Two agents discuss and then consume horse tranquilizers in a bar. Women wear revealing clothing, one young man appears in bed with two barely clad women.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's love at first sight when musician Luke Falcon (Steven Strait) and aspiring model Brier (Pell James) meet briefly on the subway. But they go their separate ways -- she to pursue modeling and he to the West coast. When Brier turns her attention to acting and moves to LA, she ends up meeting Luke again. She and her best friend, Clea (Ashlee Simpson), decide to help Luke's music career.
Is it any good?
UNDISCOVERED is a small, often incoherent saga of aspiring young artists in L.A. While the camera cannot stay still (maybe recalling director Meiert Avis' music video roots, maybe just affecting "art"), the plot can't get going. The romance pokes along by way of deception, selfishness, revenge, and disappointment. Brier and Clea, with the help of Carrie and a faux-Brazilian model named Josie (Shannyn Sossamon), connive to make Luke seem popular.
Luke falls into the rock star mode pretty easily for someone who's supposed to be all into his independence and integrity. (Then again, he's hardly "about" the music; his mostly black band is reduced to background, one member speaking once: "One, two, three.") Brier despises the effects of celebrity, so her decision to send her true love forth on this path seems odd; as she watches him turn famous, she's partly drawn to him and partly repulsed. He's her very own Frankenstein monster, drinking and having sex with Josie because he feels rejected by Brier. In turn, she blames Luke for being weak.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's portrayals of manipulative show biz people. Even the heroine -- a model and wannabe actor -- seems unable to be honest with herself, her friends, and her boyfriend. Among the movie's quite unanswerable questions: why does Brier set up Luke to be a rock star when she so dislikes rock stars? Why does Clea go along with this scheme, when she knows Luke doesn't want that life? How does the movie set up the young characters as naïve and older characters as cynical and opportunistic?
- In theaters: August 26, 2005
- On DVD or streaming: December 27, 2005
- Cast: Pell James, Shannyn Sossamon, Steven Strait
- Director: Meiert Avis
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual material including dialogue, partial nudity, language, and drug content
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