The point of view supplied by Oliver Hudson’s character, Jace Darnell, in “My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star” is one of arrogance and naivete with an overbearing dose of “I’m too sexy for my shirt.” Darnell is the cocksure singer stuck lip-synching to Duran Duran in his bedroom, rehearsing with his band SlipDog at a junkyard and playing to three people in a club — stardom is clearly a distant reach. But it will be up to Hudson, who is omnipresent in this early-teen-targeted comedy, to attract an audience, something that will require more than the observation — supplied in the pilot by a Girl Scout troop as well as unemployment office wonks — that he has a “nice ass.”
This Brit import has been relocated to the fictional wilds of Becker, Wash., where Darnell lives with mom (Shannon Tweed) and dad (Michael Des Barres); latter is, bizarrely, the only one in the family with a British accent. Seemingly, pops had something of a career in the hard-rock world, and Jace’s taste for modern pop is driving him batty. Jace is oblivious to anything except chatting with women and rounding up band mates; like “Spinal Tap,” SlipDog has a hard time holding onto drummers.
Through constant voiceover, Darnell sets up the band thusly: Guitarist Doc (Kevin Rankin) is a nut who lives alone in a roach-infested dump but possesses the necessary vapid stare and is infinitely less attractive than the lead singer; Joe Delamo (Lauren Hodges) is the horny bass player; and Danny (James DeBello) is the dopey drummer.
Darnell hits payday when his sexy unemployment officer Sarah Nelson (Emmanuelle Vaugier) turns out to be a hot club DJ. She criticizes the band’s demo and then appears to be hitting on him — whether this turns out to be lust or a working relationship certainly will play out in upcoming episodes.
SlipDog plays a variation on mid-1990s hard rock meets Matchbox Twenty, so it’s doubtful “Rock Star” will build an aud of music fans. Hudson, Kate’s brother and Goldie Hawn’s son, has a winning presence, as does most of the cast, who underplay their characters well. Pilot’s cinematography and direction, from Henry Lebo and Rodman Flender, respectively, overcome the lightweight nature of the story.