Undiscovered movie review, Meiert Avis, Pell James, Steven Strait, Ashlee Simpson, Kip Pardue, Shannyn Sossamon. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'Undiscovered'
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1 star
92 minutes | Rated: PG-13
WIDE: Friday, August 26, 2005
Directed by Meiert Avis

Starring Pell James, Steven Strait, Ashlee Simpson, Kip Pardue, Shannyn Sossamon, Carrie Fisher, Fisher Stevens, Peter Weller, Stephen Moyer

  • Steven Strait
  • Kip Pardue
  • Shannyn Sossamon
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Fisher Stevens
  • Peter Weller

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    Faux romantic drama about struggling musician and a model is shallow, unrealistic and almost unwatchable

    By Rob Blackwelder

    He's a sexy young struggling musician who never has to struggle. She's an aimless young model who wants to be an actress but never goes on auditions. Apparently, they're meant for each other but just too stupid, young and shallow to let it happen without a lot of soap-operatic fuss.

    So can somebody please tell me why we're supposed to care about these one-dimensional MTV-spawned caricatures in "Undiscovered"? Writer John Galt and director Meiert Avis sure haven't offered any clues.

    Hunky, pouty Luke (Steven Strait, "Sky High") and boney, peppy Brier (Pell James) dance around each other through the whole picture, but he's busy trolling around with vapid models as his star rises during pedestrian music-video montage sequences, and she refuses to date any more musicians, having been recently suckered by a transparently scummy British rock star from Central Casting.

    Of course, eventually all this comes down to a last-minute epiphany and one character's mad race to an airport to make an over-scripted romantic declaration before the other leaves for good -- something that naturally takes place in front of an applauding and awwwww-ing crowd.

    The best moment in this excruciatingly generic movie is the couple's meet-cute involving a lost glove in a New York subway (it's also the only moment in which the actors are given anything genuinely human to do). Luke and Brier don't see each other again until two years later in Los Angeles -- at which point the stunt-casting of cat-strangling pop singer Ashlee Simpson (she who infamously mangled her Orange Bowl half-time performance) becomes a momentary distraction.

    Her self-conscious performance in a routine best-friend role poses the question, could she actually be an even worse actress than she is a singer? Short answer: Yes. (The mounting evidence suggests Ashlee and her more famous "Dukes of Hazzard" sister Jessica don't share one molecule of non-synthetic talent between them.)

    The worst moment comes when Brier and her girlfriends devise a ridiculously convoluted and unlikely plan to boost Luke's career ("He wants to make it, but on his own terms," we're told) by hiring strippers to pretend to be groupies while paparazzi take pictures. Or maybe the worst moment is the first time Simpson sings (or the second, or the third) in that smoky whisper of hers, which is meant to disguise the fact that she can't carry a tune. It's difficult to pick just one worst moment in "Undiscovered."

    Laughably over-staged (talky scenes take place at batting cages, below circus trapezes and while jogging) and populated with stereotypes (Fisher Stevens plays a greasy, deceptive record-label scout), the film seems made with a My First Movie do-it-yourself kit purchased by the director (a veteran of music videos, and it shows) from a street vendor on Hollywood and Vine.

    Already unbelievable, unrealistic and uninteresting, "Undiscovered" might have been downright unwatchable if it weren't for two veteran actors in small roles: Peter Weller has a cameo as a deus ex machina music-industry big shot and Carrie Fisher plays Brier's aunt -- a cynical, high-powered modeling agent who has nothing better to do than pull showbiz strings at her niece's behest.

    It sure is hard to sympathize with a girl whose problems all take place in the back of a limo.

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