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Movie review: 'The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll'

Neither the nods to musical greatness nor the '70s-cred presence of Peter Fonda dispels the hokeyness of the story.

August 05, 2011|By Sheri Linden
  • Kevin Zegers and Jason Ritter try to elevate their roles from caricatures in "The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll."
Kevin Zegers and Jason Ritter try to elevate their roles from caricatures… (Red Hawk Films )

"The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll" — the title refers to the so-called 27 Club of musicians — arrives with eerie timing, so soon after the death of troubled vocalist Amy Winehouse. But that's not to say it's resonant or believable.

With drugs, sex and betrayal, the road-trip drama — essentially the story of a superstar and the hometown bandmate he left behind — gathers up every rock-saga requisite, and throws in Route 66 for good mythologizing measure. Some grace notes and riffs ring true, but mainly it plays like a familiar tune on a broken record.

Kevin Zegers and Jason Ritter try to elevate their roles from caricatures. Zegers is convincingly charismatic as bad-boy frontman Spyder, whose first album no character can mention without noting that it was the biggest rock debut in history. Ritter plays earnest guitarist Eric, whose ripped-off songs filled the legendary mega-seller. The film centers on a flashback to the duo's ill-fated 1991 reunion, with a cockamamie present-day framing device involving a journalist (Lukas Haas).

At stake are Spyder's conscience and the truth about an unreleased album.

Director Scott Rosenbaum, who clearly has a passion for roots rock, showcases a group of blues masters, Pinetop Perkins among them, in a key scene at a roadhouse (with a cameo by the ever-beautiful Ruby Dee). But neither the nods to musical greatness nor the '70s-cred presence of Peter Fonda dispels the hokeyness of the story.

Love of rock 'n' roll won't always set you free.


"The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll." MPAA rating: R for language throughout, drug use, some sexual content and nudity. Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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