The Rocker is a 2008 comedy starring Rainn Wilson, Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger, Emma Stone, Christina Applegate, Jason Sudeikis, Will Arnett, Fred Armisen and Bradley Cooper. The Rocker was written by Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky, best known for his Emmy-winning work on The Simpsons from a story by Ryan Jaffe, and directed by Peter Cattaneo, whose most-acclaimed earlier work is The Full Monty, a film for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Director. Despite relatively heavy promotion, The Rocker is notorious for being one of the least-profitable films of 2008.
The Rocker Plot
During the mid-80’s, Robert “Fish” Fishman (Rainn Wilson) was the drummer for Vesuvius, a local glam metal band from Cleveland, Ohio. After playing a local gig, Fish’s bandmates are approached by their manager, who says that a label is interested in them but will not sign them unless they get rid of Fish for the nephew of the label’s president as their new drummer. At first, the band refuses on account that it was Fish who started the band, but after their manager tells them that they will open for Whitesnake if they sign to the label, they fire Fish on the spot and leave him in the dust. Fish vows never to play drums again. Twenty years later, after failing at another cubicle job, breaking up with his girlfriend, and having to move in with his sister, Fish finds himself living in the attic “looking” for work. When it looks like he’ll be a loser for life, his dorky, socially awkward nephew Matt saves the day. Matt (Josh Gad) plays the keyboards in a pop rock band called A.D.D., joined by the dark, brooding Curtis (Teddy Geiger) and the no-nonsense Amelia (Emma Stone). The band is set to play the prom when their drummer gets thrown out of school for bringing “hash brownies” to the Spanish club luncheon, and drawing a knob on the spanish teachers face after she became stoned from to many hash brownies. Running out of time, Matty suggests they give his Uncle Fish a try.
The prom turns into a disaster, being Fish’s first time on stage again, and his drum solo takes over the King and Queen’s dance in a fit of rage, sweat, and sheer embarrassment for A.D.D. Fish tries to make amends by trying to get the band a gig. Eventually, he gets them booked, but all the way in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The band decides to sneak out in Matt’s mother’s car, but are soon busted after she reports her car stolen.
When Fish is kicked out of his sister’s house and forced to live in the basement of his favorite Chinese take-out place, the band invents a new way to practice via four-way iChat. Because of the heat in Fish’s new “apartment”, he chooses to drum naked, which quickly makes its way onto YouTube thanks to Matt’s little sister. A million hits later, A.D.D. signs a contract with David Marshall (Jason Sudeikis), an agent whose obnoxiousness outshines his poseur personality. David takes them on tour.
The band wows audiences across the country, with everyone wanting to see the infamous “Naked Drummer.” Fish starts taking his rock star status a little too seriously, though, and the whole band winds up in jail after a late-night party.
Curtis’s mother (Christina Applegate) promises to stay for the remainder of the tour, so her children won’t be influenced by the wild ways of Fish. As the tour continues, Fish and Curtis’s mother begin to find an attraction to each other. A.D.D. also shoots a music video which upon watching, all the band members are featured prominently except Fish, who notices that his face is being obscured during the entire video. It’s David who engineers this move behind Fish’s back.
David informs the band that they’re opening for Vesuvius in a free concert for their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Fish is enraged and the band sticks by his side and agrees not to do the show. Curtis’s mother tries to calm Fish down and does so by kissing him, which David witnesses. He exaggerates the truth about Fish and Curtis’ mother to Curtis, hoping to replace Fish. During their next gig, Curtis announces the band will do the show after all to a live crowd much to Fish’s dismay. After they argue in front of the crowd, Fish quits the band, and finds himself a miserable job with his brother-in-law in the corporate world.
Matt and Amelia convince Curtis that the band is nothing without the spirit of Fish after the label’s appointed drummer doesn’t fit in, and Curtis convinces Fish to do the gig. Upon arriving at the stadium before their performance, Fish encounters his former bandmates who have all adopted phony British accents and egocentric attitudes. To his happiness, Fish finds that he is able to let the past go and wishes Vesuvius a great show. Fish and the band play an incredible show. Vesuvius takes the stage, and during their set the lead singer’s microphone crashes to the ground. While the singer searches for the lost microphone, the voice track still plays, exposing the singer’s fraud for lip-syncing the entire time. The audience goes wild, booing Vesuvius off the stage in a cloud of embarrassment, and chanting, “A.D.D.! A.D.D.!” Against the advice of David, whom they fire on the spot for his obvious treachery, the band takes the stage again and performs for the crowd.