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Undiscovered is the less-than-original tale of an aspiring rock star and a model-turned-actress who meet, fall in love, fight, fall out of love, miss each other terribly, fall back in love and then live happily ever after. Or at least until the credits roll a few seconds after they finally seal the deal.
In New York City, Luke and Brier catch a glimpse of each other in the subway. They're smitten. Then both move to L.A. where Luke works as a nightclub singer and Brier takes acting classes. Fortune smiles for a second time when Luke sees Brier across a darkened bar. The glimpse turns into friendship and friendship turns into love. Brier's gun-shy though, seeing as how her last dreamy relationship—with an egomaniacal musician—turned out to be a nightmare. And her fear of getting hurt makes her walk away from Luke. So it's up to him to prove to her how much he cares.
Luke is your typical starving artist. He’s devoted to his music career, which is commendable. (But you can’t ignore the fact that with his dream comes a less-than-ideal routine involving drinking, drinking and more drinking.) Is he hard-working? Yes. But it's not clear if that stems from a great work ethic or if he simply has starry-eyed visions of the road to musical success.
Brier's mentor/agent/mother figure, Carrie, bestows on her undivided attention and lots of love. Her advice isn't always the best, but her motives are pure, and Brier is better able to cope with what life throws her because of Carrie's support. Likewise, Luke's brother, Euan, pushes him and prods him in all the right places when he needs it. Again, Euan isn't the best of role models, but he'd hand over his last dollar to help his sibling (and indeed, he does at one point).
A positive lesson in reverse is noticeable when Luke begins to get a big head as his fame increases. The reactions and feelings of his friends tell the tale of how an unchecked ego can unravel even the best relationships. Waxing eloquent about the pitfalls of fame, a record exec describes stardom as "nothing" and "froth."
Groupies. Groupies. Groupies. We see every shape and every size in a variety of revealing getups. The camera pays special attention to short skirts and plunging tops as women dance, bop and literally throw themselves at rock star hopefuls.
Euan takes lots of these women home. And while we never see anything explicit, sex is clearly implied. In one scene, he cavorts in his bedroom with several girls. Though he exhibits far more morality than his sex-crazed sibling, Luke latches on to the affections of Josie, a gregarious groupie, and it appears as if she begins living with him. Even while he's still obsessed with Brier, he uses Josie for "comfort" during a period in which Brier keeps him at arm's length. (At one point he asks Brier if she is gay.) When she decides not to hold him at arm's length, Brier goes ahead and sleeps with Luke. (We see her covered only by a bra and underwear when they wake up the next morning.)
Brier poses topless for a photo shoot (we see her back and her shoulders when she turns around). Luke chases after Brier while he's wearing only a towel. And numerous times during the movie he strips off his shirt to put his chiseled torso on display. Dancers dressed as showgirls swivel provocatively across a stage. The camera zooms in as they frantically shake their barely covered breasts and their thong-covered backsides.
Josie attacks another fan who’s trying to crash the stage while Luke is performing. Later, she slaps Luke across the face before she storms out on him. An angry record company rep grabs a guy by the throat.
Crude or Profane Language
We hear "a--," "d--n," "h---" and other mild profanities close to 20 times. One character begins an expression that includes the f-word, but trails off before completing it. There are about a half-dozen misuses of God’s name.
Drug and Alcohol Content
The vast majority of the movie is shot in bars and nightclubs, where the musical entertainment comes secondary to smoking and drinking. Shots and beer are favorites, and all of the film's major characters imbibe. Songstress Clea admits being drunk after a night out and asks for a ride rather than choosing to drive drunk. A minor character takes what is implied to be a tranquilizer.
Refreshingly, when Luke signs with a record company, he’s instructed to steer clear of both drinking and smoking. And even if the rules aren't self-imposed, at least they make an appearance.
Other Negative Elements
There's a joke about colonics. More importantly, Brier and Clea concoct a perfect storm of fake hype around Luke so that he has a better chance of getting a recording contract. To do so they lie and conspire. They hire strippers to pose as raving groupies, plot a photo op that gets picked up by newspapers, and arrange for a wave of Internet chatter about his music. Their subterfuge works. At first. Then it backfires, and that might have been a good lesson if the script hadn't followed up with yet another—fresher and more ingenious—conspiracy.
The saying goes, “If you can’t say something nice, don't say anything at all.” But in the case of Undiscovered, there is, in fact, something nice to say. You see, there’s a really cute bulldog in the movie, and he knows how to skateboard, and it’s wildly entertaining.
OK, maybe not wildly entertaining. Perhaps only mildly entertaining. But with 96 minutes of middle-of-the-road acting and a worse-than-that plotline, a skateboarding pooch quickly becomes a welcomed escape.
As happens so often when singers make the jump to movies, Ashlee Simpson’s first foray onto the big screen turns into not much more than an opportunity to belt out a few tunes. The closest this film comes to any real meaning is the oft-exploited notion that true love is worth fighting for. But even that doesn’t hold much water in Undiscovered. Luke fights to win Brier’s heart, but when things don't go his way—even for a few days—he’s off kissing a Brazilian model.
The real message here is that the only sure way to break into the music industry is to cheat. That talent and passion aren't enough, anymore. Hmmm. Maybe the same thing holds true for movies. Because talent and passion certainly weren't enough to make Undiscovered worth watching.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Pell James as Brier Tucket; Steven Strait as Luke Falcon; Kip Pardue as Euan Falcon; Carrie Fisher as Carrie; Ashlee Simpson as Clea; Fisher Stevens as Garrett Schweck
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