Box art for Rock Star

Rock Star

comedy, drama

Mark Wahlberg stars as a copier repairman who moonlights as the lead singer of a heavy-metal tribute band. Also starring Jennifer Aniston.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
2 out of 5

Not great, but moments of guilty pleasure.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is rated R for very strong language, nudity, explicit sexual situations (including group sex and bisexual encounters), and abuse of every kind of licit and illicit substance (even hotel room furniture). Many characters give the finger. There's an explicit close-up of a very unhygienic nipple-piercing. A gay character is insulted and fired from his job. The overall message is that the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll lifestyle is empty and destructive, but not unappealing, for a short time anyway. Interestingly, there is some suggestion that it is a cynical marketing strategy, though that appears to be rationalization. One nice shift from the usual format for this kind of movie is that Chris has parents who are entirely loving and supportive of his passion for metal, and genuinely enjoy the music themselves.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how some people limit themselves to dreaming that they can be exactly like someone else, instead of thinking about dreams that allow them to be most themselves. Why was it so easy for Chris to lose his way, while Emily saw that it was wrong? Why was it important for her to have her own life and career? What do we learn about Chris from the way he gets back on stage after his fall? What does he learn about himself? Do you agree with the comment that "we all owe somebody an apology along the way?"

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 28
    see all Rock Star reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Mark Wahlberg looks yummy in tight leather pants and thats a good thing because theres not much else to recommend . . . ROCK STAR.

- Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews, Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Fresh: The first half is hilarious but the second gives itself more to cautionary moralising and life lessons.

- Angie Errigo, Empire Magazine, Monday, March 15, 2010

Fresh: It works well in narrative terms, thanks to strong characters and surprising respect for the music.

- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, Friday, September 7, 2001

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Directed by: Stephen Herek Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Dominic West, Timothy Spall I never had an intention to really see this originally, I was never a lover of 80's metal but more of the 00's and after hearing average reviews and watching so many amazing music based films, I threw it from my mind....until I saw it on TV one night and was not disappointed....nor was I amazed as I wish I had been. The story follows Chris aka 'Izzy' who idolizes his favorite band, Steel Dragon. It can be said that he is one of there biggest fans and he has such major respect for them that he forms a 'tribute' band, even while they are still on the scene. When a video is made of the tribute bands concert and connections get it into the hands of Steel Dragon's guitarist, Chris becomes the new front man and all his fantasies come true and he soon realizes the life of a rock star. One word to sum the film up from first glance is 'generic' and you would be spot on, there is nothing new or original about this film and every chance given, the screenwriter plays every rock clich known to man, but what makes it a lot more enjoyable is the energy infused into the film by all and the right attitude and respect towards the music, that we forget about how formulaic it really is. What could be seen as a joke hiring Mark Wahlberg as lead (a crappy rapper boy as a rocker) actually turns out to be the best choice. He has a great charisma and energy to pull it all off and it is forgivable that he is lip syncing. I can't really rate the film any higher than a 3, I keep in mind the different elements of film making and those extra stars wouldn't be right. The film is as formulaic as they come and it certainly has all been seen before, but Rock Star has the right energy, respect and attitude to work its clichd formula right and create an enjoyable 2 hours. Simply put, its a simplistic 'Almost Famous' that works....if only all generic films were like this.

- SilentWarProductions2009, Saturday, October 20, 2007

2 stars

Another one to put in the "either a really bad movie with a few good parts, or a good movie with some absolutely terrible parts" file. I have to admit, I expected to hate it, which I didn't. I set the bar low, and enjoyed it for the most part: it's fraught with irritating melodrama and a few continuity errors (how do the fans still call him Izzy and buy his English accent on TV when he does his "I'm a regular guy..." speech - and all other concert dialogue - in his normal American-accented voice, for instance?), but it's a fun story with original "Steel Dragons" songs by 80s heavyweights including Ronnie Dio, Zakk Wylde and Sammy Hagar... not to mention Twiggy Ramirez and Desmond Child. Though the best part might be the archive footage shown over the credits, this movie delivered exactly what I expected: a pleasurable distraction with a rocking soundtrack. Two surprises: (1) Timothy Spall, who got most of the film's more sincere moments, and (2) it's based on the true story of the second lead singer of Judas Priest... in passing, the "audition a tribute band lead singer" phenomenon is truly out there: Journey replaced Steve Perry with a 5-foot-nothing Filipino kid (with wicked pipes) and Black Flag replaced their lead singer with Henry Rollins WHILE ON STAGE. It's not so far-fetched...

- danperry17, Tuesday, December 30, 2008

3 stars

This film takes you back to the 80s, the days of hair metal and tells the story of a hard rock singer becoming the new lead of his favorite band. While the movie takes its time to introduce the tribute band he is starting with and his actual time on top of the game feels a bit rushed in the second half, it is still always entertaining and the good scenes (like the "Once in a lifetime" montage) outweigh the stupid ones (car race, WTF?). While the plot mostly sticks to the expected stereotypes of rise to fame, sex, drugs and rock'n roll and the burden of it all on a relationship, there is surprisingly little drama and it's all wrapped up rather nicely after all. The end credits also show that the creators probably didn't take this as seriously as the movie sometimes feels. The soundtrack with the likes of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and AC/DC makes for a nostalgic trip back to those days as well. For fans of the (music) genre: not bad at all.

- ironclad1609, Sunday, January 11, 2009