Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.


Illustration for article titled Undiscovered

The vapid teen talent show Undiscovered turns on a plot point so moronic that even the most dedicated bad-movie buffs have cause to stay away: When anonymous rock-star wannabe Steven Strait appears in a staged photo with a popular Brazilian supermodel, he's somehow instantly transformed into one of the hottest, most buzzed-about musicians in L.A. Granted, in order to work its magic, the photo must first appear on the New York Post's Page Six and be disseminated on the Internet, which has a funny way of acquiring awe-inspiring, godlike powers whenever screenwriters need it to. If overnight stardom were that easy to finagle, a lot of publicists would be out of work, but Undiscovered gives little indication that it's even on speaking terms with the antiquated notion of believability.

The bland romance the bland in Undiscovered as Strait—whose bleating, witless music is optimistically described as Elvis Costello meets Jeff Buckley—tries to woo model-turned-aspiring-actress Pell James, who lingers in a one-sided relationship with a philandering rock star with a fetish for twins. James' Barnum-esque PR chicanery helps turn Strait into the hot new thing, but can he resist the temptations of nascent rock stardom?

Undiscovered would like to think of itself as a gritty, documentary-style indie about hopefuls on the fringes of the industry, but it's more like one of those lame hair-metal bands that went out and bought flannel shirts after Nirvana hit it big. Though its take on music, pop culture, and young people is fuzzy and misguided, the film couldn't be called cynical. Undiscovered take place in an irony-free zone, and it genuinely believes in all its time-tested clichés and banalities, to the point where its quaking sincerity becomes both strangely compelling and borderline pathetic. Undiscovered provides a fantasy for those hopeless young dreamers who move to L.A. with visions of stardom and fame, utterly unaware that they're guppies in Hollywood's shark tank. No matter how much they believe in themselves or follow their dreams, odds are good they won't succeed. Neither does Undiscovered. It doesn't even come close.