THE ROCKER (Peter Cattaneo). 102 minutes. Now playing. For venues and times, see film times. Rating: NNN
The Rocker is the Hollywood equivalent of a great cover band: it does its job enthusiastically and with considerable skill, even if it never hits a single original note.
Rainn Wilson channels the geeky conviction of The Office's Dwight Schrute into another heedless believer, almost-famous metalhead Robert "Fish" Fishman, who was dumped from the band he founded just hours before they went global.
Two decades later, Fish gets a second chance at rock stardom with his nephew's high-school combo. Wackiness ensues, as well as some surprisingly hummable pop numbers - Chad Fischer's smart, bouncy tunes make up the best fake ?rock soundtrack since Josie And The Pussycats.
Every time the movie stoops to gags about Fish's overactive sweat glands and icky pre-show rituals, it dies a little inside, but co-stars Emma Stone (also onscreen this week in The House Bunny) and Teddy Geiger both have moments of surprising depth, and Wilson finds a real sweetness in his scenes with Christina Applegate, who turns up as Geiger's mom.
The Rocker may not rock anybody's world, but it's nice to see Wilson broaden his horizons a little. Dude doesn't have to play bug-eyed sidekicks forever.