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Undiscovered
2005 - PG-13 - 97 Mins.
Director: Meiert Avis
Producer: Joe Simpson, Tom Rosenberg
Written By: John Galt
Starring: Pell James, Steven Strait, Shannyn Sossamon, Ashlee Simpson, Carrie Fisher, Peter Weller
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.undiscoveredfilm.com/
   

Am I singing or lip-syncing? You be the judge.
Far from a polished cinematic creation, Meiert Avis' 'Undiscovered' tells the story of a wannabe rock star (Steven Strait, 'Sky High') who meets a model turned aspiring actress (Pell James, 'Broken Flowers') in Los Angeles. They share romantic chemistry but don't want to get involved because they worry that doing so will get in the way of their career goals. As he rides the rollercoaster of fame and she attempts to establish herself as more than a pretty face, they begin to realize that they just might be right for one another. The question then becomes whether they can find one another before their respective careers separate them forever?

Ashlee Simpson (Jessica's younger sister), Shannyn Sossamon ('A Knight's Tale'), and Kip Pardue ('Driven') costar as the youngers; Carrie Fisher ('Star Wars') and Peter Weller ('RoboCop') as the elders.

'Undiscovered' feels content to follow an overly familiar path and for that one can be expected to be dissappointed. Nary a plot point cannot, with a modicum of thought, be predicted at least ten minutes before said point actually transpires (not that the trailer helps as it practically defines the term "two-minute movie" by detailing all the important events from the film, ending included). The film also suffers from a screenplay (credited to newcomer John Galt) that fails to fully develop a multitude of plotlines that it at first attempts to tackle.

Many storylines are halted at the drop of a hat and some are given nothing more than a single scene when they easily could have made for an interesting film on their own. For example, our rock star's dealings with hard-nosed record companies are quickly discarded before they can have any sort of impact. The script also occasionally suffers from an acute case of obviousness as director Avis (like the rent-a-car company) lingers his camera on an object or facial expression meant as a symbolic gesture.

Speaking of cameras, Avis shows his music video roots through the use of various camera tricks (such as a blurring effect as the female lead walks towards the camera nude, therefore allowing the film to garner the oh so important PG-13 rating) that come across as clumsy far more often than they approach anything resembling style.

The film avoids being an outright disaster only through the performances of its leads. As the wide-eyed Brier Tucket, Pell James is quite good. She ably handles both the comedy and the drama her role requires while generating palpable chemistry with Strait, himself also good as the unusually drug-free rock star. The rest of the cast appears to be having fun themselves, especially Sossamon in her role as the foreign woman hired by a record company as a way of portraying Strait's rock star as a "chick magnet." As for Simpson, she is neither good nor completely horrid, coming across as a non-entity most of the time.

'Undiscovered' isn't any great shakes to be sure. Perhaps what is most surprising given its pedigree is that it isn't a complete abomination either.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

 
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