The band called "A.D.D." has a gig to play at the high school prom, but they're suddenly without a drummer. One applicant shows up at audition with an electronic drum simulator, and he's grooving happily along when the pianist's uncle objects. "But lots of bands play drum loops," says the kid, and the uncle retorts, "Lots of elevators play Celine Dion. That doesn't make it right."
It's not that funny a line, right? What makes it funny is Rainn Wilson's delivery. This actor is best known for his role as Dwight Shrute in NBC's successful sitcom, The Office. When I say that in The Rocker he borrows from that persona, Office fans will know immediately what I mean, although I find it hard to describe. Dwight is a naïve know-it-all, a belligerent nerd, given to asking rhetorical questions which that he then answers loftily, a paragon of self-importance. He is tall and moves awkwardly, and his high, white forehead is accentuated with parenthetical curls.
On any subject, Dwight is an expert—maybe. When confronted with an actor portraying Benjamin Franklin, Dwight pronounces, "That is not the real Ben Franklin. I am 99 percent sure." His eyes are hard and staring, posing a perennial challenge. Here's a classic Dwight speech: "It appears that the website has become alive. This happens to computers and robots sometimes. Am I scared of a stupid computer? Please. The computer should be scared of me. I have been salesman of the month for 13 of the last 12 months. You heard me right. I did so well last February that Corporate gave me two plaques in lieu of a pay raise."
In The Rocker, Wilson is portraying a guy with quite a different history, but many of the elements—the tense, staring eyes, the inclination to make pronouncements, ...1