A vacuous show-biz trifle (now there's a triple redundancy for you), "Undiscovered" delves into the criminally neglected world of aspiring musicians and actors trying to make their mark in Hollywood. Directed by Irishman Meiert Avis, a veteran of U2 music videos, from John Galt's script, it's a film in which coincidence and serendipity function as script doctors but to no avail.
Singer-songwriter Luke Falcon (Steven Strait) glimpses Nebraska farm girl-slash-model Brier Tucket (Pell James) on the New York subway, where she picks up his dropped glove and he tosses her its mate (an apparently romantic gesture) but she's gone before he finds out so much as her name. He declares himself "smitten" to his brother Euan (Kip Pardue), but unfortunately is headed at that very moment to try his luck in L.A. and figures he will never see the lovely blond again.
But this is a movie, after all, so in a New York minute Brier is informing her fairy god-agent Carrie (Carrie Fisher) that she's ankling the Apple for the Coast to try her hand at acting. In a class at the Strasberg Institute, Brier meets Clea (Ashlee Simpson, star of pop music and reality television), who leads her to Luke, who's become a regular at the Mint, but it's really complicated because Brier is, like, sort of dating this philandering British rock star (Stephen Moyer) and really doesn't want to getinvolved with another musi-cian.
Though Luke is described as Jeff Buckley meets Elvis Costello and we see him making an aborted in-studio appearance on KCRW, his music is strictly the kind of goopy, sensitive guy stuff played by Ryan Seacrest on Star. Equally artificial, the L.A. of the movie is the neon-lighted, hipster (their word, not mine) hangout ripped from glossy magazine spreads and "Access Hollywood." HBO's "Entourage" feels like a gritty documentary by comparison.
By the time Peter Weller turns up as a mythic record label exec to cleanse everyone with his philosopher-guru mantras and save everyone from sleazy A&R man Garrett Schweck (an enthusiastic Fisher Stevens), the film has more or less euthanized itself, and the audience will be wishing for the same. When the sight of a skateboarding bulldog is the most entertaining thing on the screen, you know you're in trouble.
At one time called "Wannabe" — which would have been far too self-aware — "Undiscovered" is the kind of elliptical romance in which any scenes of substance (say, where the lovebirds get to know one another or have an actual conversation) have been omitted to clear space for the music video montages. In fact, the whole movie could be clipped by about 95 minutes and it would make a swell little video for Simpson's performance of the title cut from the soundtrack.
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sexual material including dialogue, partial nudity, language and drug content
Times guidelines: Man wearing thong. Enough said.
A Lions Gate Films release. Director Meiert Avis. Producer Michael Burns, Bic Tran, Marco Mehlitz, Michael Ohoven. Executive producers Joe Simpson, Michael Paseornek, Eberhard Kayser, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Harley Tannenbaum, Jordan Schur. Screenplay by John Galt. Director of photography Danny Hiele. Editor David Codron. Costume designer Jen Rade. Production designer Philip DuffinRunning time: 1 hour, 38 minutes.
In general release.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times