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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 3.7%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 44.44%
Total Crap51.85%

3 reviews, 9 user ratings

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by Peter Sobczynski

"Let the Ashlee Simpson jokes begin!"
1 stars

Filled to the brim with bad acting, worse music and the kind of narrative cohesion not seen in an American film since "Supercross," the new perils-of-fame drama "Undiscovered" seems to have been custom-designed to play in empty theaters during the cinematic dog days of late August. How bad is it? Ashlee Simpson has a supporting role in it and her singing isn’t the worst thing about it.

The film stars Steven Strait as struggling singer-songwriter Luke Falcon, a name that should only be used by someone fighting crime alongside an animated robot dog. As the film opens, he is a struggling singer-songwriter who apparently trains bulldogs to skateboard by day and pounds out tuneless and utterly anonymous songs in a local hotspot by night. At the same time, Brier Tucket (Pell James and no, I am not making up the names of the characters), a struggling model whom Luke had a brief encounter with on his last night in town, has decided to move to L.A. to get away from her lame rocker boyfriend and make it as an actress.

Wanting to help, Brier and acting pal Clea (Simpson)decide to try to jump-start Luke’s career by creating buzz in the industry. (They get so busy with this that they basically seem to give up their own aspiring careers.) Their efforts work and before long, Luke has a mob of fans, a sleazy record-company weasel (Fisher Stevens) trying to sign him up a nd a psycho Brazilian model (a bizarrely-cast Shannyn Sossamon) trying to get in his pants.

The subject of aspiring performers trying to get that big break could be interesting in the right hands (as was demonstrated in the Steven Soderbergh-produced HBO show "Unscripted") but screenwriter John Galt and director Meiret Avis (a veteran of numerous music videos from the likes of U2 and Bruce Springsteen who probably has lots of industry stories to share) have chosen instead to give us the most predictable storyline possible. Luke loves Brier and she likes him (possibly because he doesn’t make any crass jokes about hopping into the Brier Patch) but she doesn’t want to be in another relationship with a rock star and so she pushes him away. Luke inexplicably becomes famous and alienates his friends and brother (Kip Pardue) by . . . well, by being famous, I guess, since he doesn’t do anything particularly horrible. Anyway, it all comes crashing down, everyone realizes that they love each other and by this point, the film is so bankrupt for ideas that it actually ends w ith the hero racing through the airport to catch the girl before she leaves.

The movie is a mess. Luke’s rise and fall are so arbitrarily sketched in that we have to take both simply on faith. The romantic conflicts are thunderously uninteresting and the fact that the two little-known leads are as banal as can be doesn’t really help matters much. The most bewildering aspect is the character played by Simpson and not just because she does for acting what she does for singing. For most of the film, her character is a pointless sideline distraction and yet when it comes to the point near the end where our hero is playing before an audience that contains legendary music producer Wick Treadway (Peter Weller, looking like someone trying to figure how he went from being Buckaroo Banzai and Robocop to being Wick Treadway)–you know, the moment when the hero sings the title song–she is the one who winds up handling the tune. How to explain this weirdness is beyond me, except to point out that Joe Simpson, the creepy manager-father of Simpson and older sister Jessica, is listed as one of the executive-producers.

The best part of "Undiscovered" is the presence of the invaluable Carrie Fisher as Brier’s aunt/handler. Although she literally phones in nearly her entire performances, most of her lines have enough of a bite to them that I suspect she probably had a hand in writing them herself. Fisher, of course, has made a second career for herself by taking various low-points in her life and transforming them into hilarious best-selling book such as "Postcards From the Edge." If the experience of working on "Undiscovered" can produce another literary gem, the film might one day prove to have been worth it.

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originally posted: 08/26/05 13:58:29
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User Comments

5/18/07 lydi less story development, not the actors fauts more on the script and the whole story 4 stars
7/25/06 Ryan_A Ashlee Simpson is LESS talented than her sister, & her sis is worthless. Awful film, too. 1 stars
1/16/06 porfle I discovered it. Now I'd like to undiscover it. 1 stars
1/07/06 Janel yeah this movie pretty much blows... we almost walked out of the theater 1 stars
9/14/05 Jonathon Holmes almost as bad as "The Perfect Man", vile from start to finish 1 stars
9/02/05 bob fett would have been better if they lip-synched the entire movie 1 stars
8/30/05 Naka You might be shocked to hear this, sucks. 1 stars
8/28/05 Chris Stupid Stupid Stupid 1 stars
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  26-Aug-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Dec-2005



Directed by
  Meiert Avis

Written by
  John Galt

  Kip Pardue
  Shannon Sossamon
  Fisher Stevens
  Carrie Fisher
  Peter Weller
  Ashlee Simpson

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