Undiscovered review by Tom Blain
The movie Undiscovered is aptly named. As I read on IMDB, it had one of the greatest box office drops from opening to second week. Yikes! Thats probably not the angle the film's producers were hoping for when it was named. Its not suprising though considering most of the movies actors are releatively young unknowns with one exception: so-called singer Ashlee Simpson. Simpson is probably known best for lip synching her music on Saturday Night Live first, and being the sister of 'single' superstar pop-icon Jessica Simpson. She is also pop singer who's tunes are targeted towards a young audience meaning this film (by association) will also have to hit that niche, like it or not.
The title Undiscovered refers to the movies main character Luke Falcon who is a New York musician struggling to make it big in L.A. On his last night in New York, he brushes past young model Brier (I ask myself "is she named after a 'patch'"?) played by Pell James. Without sharing so much as a word they lock in glances for a moment as the subway doors close and exit. They are both in love yet never to see each other again.... until about 15 minutes later (movie time) when both meet again in L.A. This time, there is no train schedule to seperate them; just Brier's bears a prickly, thorny defense against the advances of musicians (she was burned earlier by an aging Brit rock-star... yeah couldnt see that one coming). Despite shutting down Luke, she really, really likes him so she and her funky hat-wearing friend Clea (Ashlee Simpson) decide to help him get 'discovered'.
How do two struggling actor/models in L.A. pop the bubble on Joe-rockstar? Not quite sure. But in this movie, Brier calls up her agent (Carrie Fisher answering the question "Where are they now?") who pulls strings. Step one is to arrange for some Brazillain bimbo to hit on Luke during a concert (shurg?). Step two, she plants stories in newspapers about him being the next big thing. Soon web-sites are dedicated to him and little teenage girls are professing their undying love for him. His shows are now filled with adoring fans who love him "for his music". Bingo-bango...record deal with a sleezeball.
But do record deals last forever? No in this movie they last 10 minutes. His agent finds out that these girls rigged the whole thing and dumps Luke on the spot. That I have a major problem with. If his agent is worth his salt, he knows the music industry has nothing to do with talent but about selling a product. A big deal was already made about this clown in newspapers and web-sites. He has a public name. So what if its a rouse... SO IS ASHLEE SIMPSON'S WHOLE CAREER! Ironic ain't it? Her records make money. Either way, his sucess is cut very short.
To fill the rest of the movie, we are strung along by Brier's tedious and sometimes unnecessary denial of her love for Luke. I know this is a common movie ploy; create an insurmountable force between the two main characters and watch them come together at the end. But her reasoning should have broken down very early in the movie. The barriers that the characters are constantly setting up up then breaking down then setting up again are tiresome. You wish they could just shutup and be happy or break it off all together.
The movie gets high marks for cinematography. Its not just your run-of-the-mill camera job seen in many teen-targetted movies. The camera work is purposely choppy and unfocused at times, making it feel a bit more home-made, while not looking sophomoric and unprofessional. There is theme song that runs throughout this movie that sounds like Harry Lime's song in the Third Man; I'm not quite sure why but I kinda like it. The actual music that Luke sings is suprisingly good. At least its much more than I expected from this movie. Its a bit of Slash's Snakepit mixed with Soundgarden. I'm not saying the guy should go pro, but lets just say I was preparing for something as bad as American Idol. Finally it gets a +1 for the skateboarding bulldog. I'm glad I saw the movie just for that.
Low marks come in the form of storytelling and improbability. The ending consists of a series of square pegs being squeezed into round holes. Somehow the characters come together, but it truely takes about four miracles and blessings to pull it off. The acting is not particularly great, but its not Gigli-bad either. One reviewer at Reel Talk says "Steven Strait reminds me of a young Marlon Brando." Shocking. Strait's character is more mopey puppy dog, where as Brando was a ragging ball of testosterone in his younger days. Not to mention a much better actor. None of these actors do anything remarkable.
Not a movie that you should seek out, but its not all-together bad. It probably fits into that teenage girl -nitche quite nicely. Ashlee Simpson plays a grungle model/actor/singer friend and I'm sure plenty of little girls will go mad for Steven Strait. Anyone old enough to vote will probably pass up this movie on the DVD shelf and leave it... (oh I can't stop myself from saying it)... "undiscovered."
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