Amy Winehouse's recent death at 27 grants grim topicality to The Perfect Age of Rock 'N' Roll, a hackneyed saga about two musicians of the same legendarily doomed age: floundering frontman Spyder (Kevin Zegers) and his childhood friend Eric (Jason Ritter), whose songs he stole for stardom and whom he attempts to recruit for a new album in an effort to salvage his career. Recounting their 1991 road trip from Long Island to Los Angeles via a framing 2011 interview between Spyder and a reporter (Lucas Haas), Scott Rosenbaum's film (scored to songs by, among others, Nirvana, The Violent Femmes and Jane's Addiction) is 10 tracks of clichés, dutifully trading in drugs, daddy issues, attempted suicide, gunfights, hotel trashings, regret, artistic and romantic jealousy, betrayal, ecstasy, and tragedy. Mascaraed Spyder is the Axl Rose to flannel-scruffy Eric's Eddie Vedder, with the dissonant pair coming off as mismatched stereotypes. The phoniness of their cross-country saga is compounded by a gaggle of cipher sidekicks, including Peter Fonda's old-school music-biz pro, Taryn Manning's sultry band manager, and a tattooed bassist and drummer who are treated like laughable afterthoughts (well . . . ). Squandering The Wire and Boardwalk Empire's great Michael K. Williams (Omar, Chalky) in a useless cameo is just about unforgivable, though it's ultimately no more egregious than this off-key film's generic plot-forwarding montages and interpersonal conflicts straight out of Rock History 101.
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