2 stars (out of four)
A movie about artistic authenticity in search of its own, the rock star cautionary tale "Undiscovered" hits its fair share of sweet notesonly to be tainted by the handful of sour ones.
Steven Strait plays Luke Falcon, a songwriter with pop-star name and looks who moves from New York to Los Angeles in search of a record contract "on his own terms." On the day he leaves, Luke encounters Brier (Pell James), a fashion model also on her way to L.A.
Connecting in the city of lost angels via mutual friend Clea (Ashlee Simpson, in the wisdom-filled, introverted sidekick role), Luke and Brier begin a film-long on-again, off-again romance hindered by Brier's bad history with musicians.
"I don't think you fall out of love until you fall into someone else," Clea adds helpfully.
As if channeling her denied passion for Luke, Brier enlists Clea on a campaign to create "buzz" for Luke's dead-end career track, hiring models to fawn and leading the Internet assault to build Luke a following.
Soon, the corruption-of-fame trope kicks in, complete with meddling from a scummy record label exec (Fisher Stevens) and perfunctory boozing, model-dating and friend-neglecting.
Longtime video director Meiert Avis (U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name") delivers a movie that doesn't always take its own advice: Do your own thing, don't sell out, don't get corrupted, listen to your heart.
It doesn't help that Simpsonaware of her own overexposure and underplaying her part fittinglygets the final two big numbers.
Yet, there is a good movie hereStrait actually sings the songs that stand on their own, and he's appealing, despite the rock movie cliches. But add occasional clunky dialog, bad movie names (Luke Falcon, Wick Treadway) and an overlong running time, and "Undiscovered" becomes its own morality tale.
Directed by Meiert Avis; screenplay by John Galt; photographed by Danny Hiele; production designed by Philip Duffin; music by David Baerwald; edited by David Codron; produced by Michael Burns, Marco Mehlitz, Michael Ohoven and Bic Tran. A Lions Gate Films release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:37. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sexual material including dialogue, partial nudity, language and drug content).
Luke Falcon - Steven Strait
Brier Tucket - Pell James
Euan Falcon - Kip Pardue
Josie - Shannyn Sossamon
Carrie - Carrie Fisher
Wick Treadway - Peter Weller
Garrett Schweck - Fisher Stevens
Clea - Ashlee Simpson