There's something oddly heroic about Dwight Schrute. As played by Rainn Wilson on NBC's The Office, he's an uptight, aggressive, needling jerk, but you can't help but kind of love him anyway. Same goes for Rob "Fish" Fishman, Wilson's character in The Rocker, a drummer who gets kicked out of a band which then goes on to fame and fortune without him. Over the next 20 years, Fish becomes a bitter, developmentally stunted slacker with no redeeming qualities... except, well, like Dwight, you find yourself rooting for the guy.
Fish gets a second chance when his teenage nephew's band loses their drummer, and soon he's hanging out with the kids: the schlubby nephew, the brooding pretty-boy singer/songwriter, and the cute indie-chick bass player, all of whom are effortlessly likeable. When a clip of Fish drumming naked becomes a YouTube sensation, the band has a chance at the big time. Does Fish teach the kids a little something about rockin' out? Do they, in turn, show him the meaning of responsibility, and, perhaps, love? Hey, you've seen this movie before!
It doesn't matter. Transcending its School of Rock premise, The Rocker is cute and goofy fun, with a few smart laughs and plenty of stupid ones. The movie exists in an alternate reality where hair metal never went out of style, yet it remains charmingly naïve about the lifestyle of traveling musicians. Meanwhile, Christina Applegate is hugely appealing as the hottie MILF of one of the kids, and the entire movie is populated by consistently funny actors: There's 30 Rock's Jason Sudeikis as the sleazy manager, Curb Your Enthusiasm's Jeff Garlin as the nephew's loser dad, Arrested Development's Will Arnett and SNL's Fred Armisen as Fish's spandexed former bandmates. If a few shot-to-the-groin jokes don't bother you, The Rocker just might have you raising your fist in the air.