"Step Brothers" meets The 40-Year-Old Virgin" meets "School of Rock" in "The Rocker," one of the funnier movies I’ve seen this year. This is yet another entry in the Arrested Development genre, and isn’t it telling that we never seen movies about 40ish women who can’t grow up? Rainn Wilson from "The Office" is Robert "Fish" Fishman, a hapless but likable mope and would-be drummer who was dumped by the band Vesuvius just before they hit it big. Twenty years later, Vesuvius is huge—and Fish is living in his sister’s attic.
When Fish becomes a YouTube sensation by accident, the garage band suddenly has a chance to go national. Christina Applegate has the the obligatory role as the conveniently hot grownup woman who finds something charming and refreshing about the Peter Pan guy. And Will Arnett is hilarioius as the the leader of Vesuvius.
Like Will Ferrell and Jack Black, Wilson has the ability to strike just the right note between pathetic schlub and someone worth rooting for. It’s the same thing Bill Murray pulled off a generation ago. I also liked the performances from the kids, most notably the relationship between Josh Gad and Emma Stone from "Superbad." "The Rocker" isn’t as funny as "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" or as fresh as "School of Rock," but it’s a goofy and amusing late summer movie with more than enough laughs to recommend it.