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By Merle Bertrand | March 19, 2005

Ever notice how, no matter how broke they are, wannabe rock stars always seem to have money for beer and cigarettes? At least, that’s the cliché in movies about rock star wannabes, and “Shooting Livien” lives up to that cliché, and then some. In fact, John Livien (Jason Behr) is the embodiement of rock star wannabe cliché-dom. As talented, dreamy looking and charismatic as he is moody, greasy and gloomy, Livien’s such a pretentious “artiste” that he refuse to name his band, his songs, or the album that his unnamed band is on the verge of recording. Oh, and he has delusional flashbacks about his mom’s suicide, and at times seems to think he’s John Lennon. Needless to say, Livien’s a fun guy to be around.

Yet, sure enough, that ol’ musician’s mystique kicks in, and before you can say “Kurt Cobain,” Livien has attracted the attention of Emmy (Sarah Wynter), a blonde beauty who alternately serves as his muse, or the band’s version of Yoko Ono.

Livien and the boys also capture the attention of Drea (Ally Sheedy), a fading manager/talent scout who’s desperate to take one more band to the top, and soon, the typical sex, drugs and rock and roll ensue.

To call “Shooting Livien” pompous and ponderous is a bit like calling The Beatles an English band. Sure, it’s true, but it’s also a monstrous understatement. Filled with self-important imagery, and half-baked attempts at symbolism, neither of which pay off much or even make sense most of the time, director Rebecca Cook’s drab and dull attempt to romanticize the troubled life of this haunted rocker is a disappointing exercize in pointless melodrama.

Dominic Monaghan provides the film’s only engaging moments as Livien’s earnest, pragmatic and long-suffering bandmate Owen, while the rest of the cast does what it can to try to breathe some life into this dull dud. Okay, the usually edgy and interesting indie-incarnation of Ally Sheedy just seems to be going through the motions, but she didn’t have much to work with here.

Nobody does, which is a double damnation, as “Shooting Livien” is both way too long and filled with pointless fluff. Behr doesn what he can with his haunted lead, but a character who’s such a cliché to start with needs somewhere to go. In the case of “Shooting Livien,” that place is apparently the local convenience store for more beer and smokes.

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