The Rocker (2008)



Critic Consensus: With a predictable and lightweight story, the earnest efforts of the cast are squandered by The Rocker's bland script.

Movie Info

The Office star Rainn Wilson portrays a drummer named "Fish," who gets a second shot at fame 20 years after getting kicked out of his band on the very night they signed the record contract that made them stars. Fish has spent the past two decades languishing at soul-crushing day jobs while his old bandmates became legends, continuing to grace magazine covers and dominate the radio. He might just get another chance at musical success, however, when his teenage cousin invites him to drum for his … More

Rating: PG-13 (for drug and sexual references, nudity and language)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: M. Wallace Wolodarsky, Maya Forbes, Wally Wolodarsky, Wallace Wolodarsky
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 27, 2009
Box Office: $6.3M
Fox Atomic - Official Site


as Robert 'Fish' Fishma...

as Curtis's Mother

as Matt Gadman

as Curtis

as Amelia

as Fishman's Sister

as Paul

as Amelia's Dad

as David Marshall
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Rocker

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Critic Reviews for The Rocker

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (35)

A whacked-out, superannuated, would-be rock star might seem to be too easy a comic target, but Wilson gives this sad sack so many fresh twists that he never wears out his welcome.

Full Review… | November 21, 2008
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

As a movie, it may not rock, but it rolls along nicely enough.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

The Rocker is more Keane than Keith Moon: slow, safe and about as edgy as a tangerine.

Full Review… | October 14, 2012

More fun than a fifth of Rebel Yell and a bag of Quaaludes.

Full Review… | August 15, 2011
East Bay Express

Just because one is a scene stealer on TV does not mean he or she is big screen material, period, much less a movie star.

Full Review… | February 12, 2009 agreeable, sporadically hilarious comedy that benefits substantially from the almost uniformly strong performances.

Full Review… | February 6, 2009
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Rocker


I believe this was Rainn Wilson's first leading role in his own movie, the first time a movie revolved around his character. Unfortunately the movie isn't exactly an original concept, some might say it kinda rips-off the 2003 movie 'School of Rock' to a degree, maybe even touching on the Brit flick 'Still Crazy' here and there.

The plot centres around the fictional drummer Robert Fishman (Wilson) of the heavy metal rock band Vesuvius. Back in the 80's this band are on the verge of hitting the big time with their heavy metal/glam rock songs and outrageous onstage antics. Alas the record company that wants to sign them sets an ultimatum, they must drop their drummer Fishman...and replace him with the record companies nephew. Eventually the band agree and Fishman is out. We follow Fishman years down the line, his life has crumbled, he loses his job, his girlfriend and he is forced to move in with his sister. But it is here, with his sisters family, he finds a lifeline in his nephews high school rock band.

So yes, it is very much like 'School of Rock', the main difference of course being this is based around teenagers instead of young kids. Does that make the film any better? well sort of I guess, its not exactly a riveting tale of originality as said. Bottom line the film survives purely because of Wilson and his goofiness along with his non-Hollywood looks. This is Rainn's appeal, the guy is not good looking, he is not fit or ripped in any way and he's not a ladies man type. This guy is just a regular looking bloke, the kind of guy you would actually find serving you in a retail park electronics store. Its this that makes Wilson likable as the everyman up against it, he uses his, dare I say, pug-ugly looks and out of shape physique to great effect. Indeed in this film we see his flabby toneless torso quite often, and its admittedly amusing, it works (I especially liked the brief moment at the start where he hurls his sweat soaked vest into the crowd, and it slaps some poor fan across the face).

The rest of the cast are made up of stereotypical teens that fit the stereotypical mould. You have the good looking male lead singer that has all the girls swooning over him, yet he's somehow not fulfilled. The fat, curly haired, awkward kid who doesn't really fit in, but towards the end totally gets into it and snatches a hot girl way out of his league. And finally you have Emma Stone who obviously plays the cute female band member who secretly has the hots for the good looking male lead singer (guess what happens in the end). The supposedly funny bit is the fact they hire Fishman as their drummer, a man in his forties who thinks he's still a young rocker and likes to live the dream, real life responsibilities aside. Oh and their manager is a creepy untrustworthy again, not much originality.

Much of the bands tomfoolery is played out through Wilson's Fishman character and it is slightly amusing as said, but it grows old very quickly. The whole aspect of his life going through a downhill spiral of rejection after losing Vesuvius is completely predictable and dull frankly. The sequences where he goes all wild and crazy in true rock n roll fashion are also slightly amusing but again so obvious, you just know at some point he'll trash a hotel room. The romance angle between Stone and the good looking lead singer is hammy as hell as is Josh Gad's fat kid character...hell its all cliched to the max.

This is the films problem, there is nothing here you haven't really seen before, every plot angle, every character development, the predictable face to face reunion with Vesuvius and their ultimate downfall in the concert finale etc...Its not exactly terrible stuff, its just completely average and actually kinda boring. THE only reason to watch this movie is for the sporadic moments of lunacy from Wilson, as in his other movie 'Super', he does show he can actually act and deliver emotion well. Other than that its a total by the numbers comedy. Heck even the films promotion efforts were similar to that Jack Black comedy I mentioned earlier. The main difference being that movie actually felt more like a homage to rock despite being a kids flick, you just don't get that with this movie.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Only funny when it wants to be, "The Rocker" embraces the rocker-lifestyle stereotype, but does not fully deliver on a compelling enough story to satisfy me all the way through. Most of the time, the film feels like it is trying to be exactly like School of Rock but with a little more dark humour, and I didn't mind that, but most of the gags fall flat. It's not a bad movie, in fact, by the time the third act begins, it's quite enjoyable, which makes a very average comedy overall. I feel like this film could have had more to it, but there you go. "The Rocker" is a misfire in most areas, but it's not a bad film. With a dumb script, cheesy acting, and a borderline pedofile-esque plot line, this film is a one-and-done movie.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


Despite the energy and charisma of Rainn Wilson, The Rocker, have just a few funny scenes, bad script and that show a waste of talent by Wilson, others good comedians and the director of Dear Rosie and The Full Monty, Peter Cattaneo. Rotten.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

The Rocker Quotes

– Submitted by Melissa T (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Jiashu X (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Sean C (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Lucas M (3 years ago)

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