Prey For Rock And Roll

on September 26, 2003 by Michael Tunison
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It's hard to imagine how the gritty musician drama "Prey For Rock and Roll" could have come up with a more compelling frontwoman than "Showgirls"/"Bound" femme fatale Gina Gershon, who is so completely credible both on stage and off that one suspects not only that she was born to play the part, but in fact might have missed a potential calling by not pursuing a real-life music career at some point. Unfortunately, strong work from Gershon and her co-stars is sometimes squandered in Alex Steyermark's feature directorial debut, which keeps a nice crashing beat but could have benefited from some smoother arrangement.

Hitting age 40 after two decades of struggling to break into the big time, Gershon's trash-talking bisexual Jacki finds herself asking that age-old question, "At what point do I become a joke?" Her all-grrrrl Los Angeles punk band, Clam Dandy, is drawing interest from a minor label, but internal problems--particularly with their substance-abusing, trust-fund-baby bassist (a terrific Drea de Matteo from TV's "The Sopranos")--undermine every move Jacki makes.

Adapted from rocker Cheri Lovedog's autobiographical stage production, "Prey" hits the starving-in-leather-pants Hollywood musician lifestyle square on the pierced nose--so much so that that it's a bit disappointing when co-scripters Lovedog and Rob Whitehouse resort to such melodramatic plot contrivances as a rape-revenge scenario and the surprise fate of a major character in a transparent attempt to pump additional plot-driven juice into the narrative. It's much more engaging to watch Gershon belting out Lovedog-composed trash rock in a growling voice that bites off more than a little from the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, or stumbling into an unpredictable relationship with a mild-mannered younger guy fresh out of prison (Marc Blucas from "They"). Like the raucous music the heroines make together, the film is at its best when keeping things simple and true. Starring Gina Gershon, Drea de Matteo, Lori Petty, Shelly Cole, Marc Blucas and Ivan Martin. Directed by Alex Steyermark. Written by Cheri Lovedog and Robin Whitehouse. Produced by Donovan Mannato, Gina Resnick and Gina Gershon. A Mac release. Drama/Musical. Not yet rated. Running time: 92 min

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