Release Date: August 26th, 2005 by Lions Gate Films.
The Cast: Pell James, Steven Strait, Kip Pardue, Carrie Fisher, Ashlee Simpson, Shannyn Sossamon, Peter Weller.
Directed by Meiert Avis.
BASIC PREMISE: As Luke (Strait) falls in love with Brier (James), a struggling model-turned-actress, as he rises to a fame as a rock star.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Although the most characters quite good-looking, there is very little that works in terms of entertainment. The majority of the problems come from the poorly-written script. It is hard to believe that Luke could become famous so quickly, especially if he doesn't even have one memorable song. Also, he has very little charisma and wit/humor. The first scene, when he and Brier meet briefly on a train, is poorly paced and horribly directed to make it effective in any way. It would have been better if their meeting lasted a little longer so that they could briefly get to know one another like in the film Serendipity. Al All of a sudden, Brier decides to give him free publicity after she sees him again--but, this time, he's singing at a bar. It would have been nice to include more background information about Luke or Brier to make them more real rather than just one-dimensional caricatures of real people. This is the kind of movie where the characters are just there to move the plot along, especially Josie (Sossamon) who constantly flirts with Luke while competing with Brier over him. At least there's no catfight! On a positive note, Ashlee Simpson is cute and appealing as Clea, Brier's close friend. Too bad she wasn't cast as Brier because Pell James is simply unconvincing. There is just one funny, yet pointless scene when Brier's agent thinks that she has disconnected her phone call with one of her clients while she bad-mouths him. Unfortunately, the screenplay requires her to repeat this mistake two more times. Peter Weller has a small, yet crucial role and he makes the best of the poor dialogue, but he only has a few scenes and very little character development. He is an obvious plot device. Kip Pardue is unmemorable and has very little to do with regards to the plot--all his is is Euan, Brier's brother. Watching this film is like watching a puppet show with the arms moving the puppets in clear view.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: There's a mild, half-hearted attempt to give a concluding message about fame and fortune, but it feels too contrived and overly-simplistic to be insightful. There aren't any moving or thought-provoking scenes because of how untrue-to-life the script is. There are films that work that are untrue-to-life, but they are in a completely different genre: sci-fi or fantasy like The Brothers Grimm or Sky High (which, coincidentally, also stars Steven Strait). This film attempts to be grounded in real life, but it simply fails. Although the ending is satisfying and positive, it is both unsubtle and predictable.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Poorly-written script, one-dimensional characters, and a predictable plot.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4
THE BOTTOM LINE: Although not the worst movie of the year, this movie is an example of how a poorly-written script along with bad directing can turn a very simple plot with a lot of promise into chaos. Ashlee Simpson needs a better vehicle to show off her charm than this mess of a movie. Good-looking actors and one funny scene is not enough to make this a truly enjoyable or memorable film. If only the writing were better!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "U" Menu