By Admin | April 18, 2000

I kept waiting for the punch line; some sign or wink at the audience to let us know that “I Crave Rock & Roll,” Carmen Santa Maria’s limpid ode to white boy metal, was all a big put-on. Alas, no such luck. Writer/director/executive producer/songwriter Maria also plays the two lead roles in this loves-thyself-way-too-much vanity project. For most of the film, he’s Bruce Kilser, a dumb as a mud fence, low-rent Wayne of “Wayne’s World” knock-off who laughs like Pee Wee Herman, works in a lawnmower repair shop, lusts after his sexy co-worker Pamela (Julie Gray) and dreams of someday fronting a perm-haired, make-up wearing, guitar drenched sanitized metal band. Think Bon Jovi or Def Lepperd. (Carmen Santa Maria was definitely born about fifteen years too late.) Bruce’s idol is Roq Starr (also played by Maria), a jaded and burnt out rocker who’s disgusted with the rock and roll lifestyle and all of its attendant sex, drugs, fame and glory. Bruce wouldn’t understand this attitude. Bruce also looks just like Roq, thus setting up the ol’ switched identity plot device; a cliche that’s been used in films more often than the word “baby” in a rock song. There’s really no need to go into the various useless and convoluted subplots here, as they’re all pretty incidental. Suffice it to say that while Roq Starr re-discovers his love for rock and roll with Bruce’s help, Bruce learns one of those bonk-on-the-head “I am who I am” lessons so often dished out by bad TV movies. Not that Maria lets any of this trivial storytelling stuff get in the way of the real reason this movie exists, which is the rock and roll. He burns up some forty minutes of this film’s ridiculously long 117 minutes with generic music videos from Maria’s band “Renegade Blue”; mostly performance footage with some token jiggle-vision thrown in to spice things up. It’s not that Maria was way off base in trying to generate some buzz about his band with a feature film. After all, it worked like a charm for “The Beatles” in “A Hard Day’s Night” while “The Monkees,” a strictly made-for-TV band, stretched the convention to its limits. “Renegade Blue,” like many similar bands, is even capable of a catchy hook and sounds pretty decent…for a song or two. But a whole album of this stuff? Coupled with its lame and cliche-riddled writing — characters named “Roq Starr” and “Professor Booger,” for instance — and its marginal acting, this film will make you crave rock and roll too…but only if it’s blasting from a CD player, where it belongs.

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