Rock Star

Director:Stephen Herek
Writer:John Stockwell
Warner Bros.; R; 142 minutes
Cast:Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Flemyng

One expects a certain tongue-in-cheekiness from a film titled Rock Star. Oddly enough, it's a relatively earnest account of stardom's impact on a young couple catapulted into a mid-1980s arena-rock extravaganza.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris Cole, a working-class guy with an obsession for big-hair rock (think Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, Motley Crue). He helms a cover band with such fastidious attention to detail that his bandmates eventually ditch him and his manager girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston, in an extension of her Friends persona). A bizarre lucky break lands Chris a job replacing the leader singer of Steel Dragon, the very band whose songs he sang for so many years. This incredible switcheroo thrusts the young couple into a world of fast, debauched living. Chris's fan/idol relationship gets flipped in a myth-shattering exposure to the business realities behind pop success.

Rock Star resembles Boogie Nights transposed into the music world and mixed with This Is Spinal Tap, although here the rock clichés are milked for drama rather than laughs.