Suck Rob Stefaniuk

Suck Rob Stefaniuk
You know how some bands are so aggressively mediocre that they would do almost anything for a shot at fame? Say, even a neck chomp from the undead? Almost every joke implied by its title is perfunctorily exsanguinated in Rob Stefaniuk's ode to staving off the suck. The director, writer (songs included) and star leads a bland rock troupe that finally begin to find popularity after bassist Jennifer (Jessica Pare) is turned into a vampire. It's a little light on plot, opting to focus on idiosyncrasies of the musical business and stunt cameos, and the visual tone gives mixed signals on the intended level of camp, so it's hard to know how to take Suck. Extended music sequences involving a garishly glammed up vampire antagonist named "Queeny" singing into the camera while the room spins behind him like a cheap '90s rock video are uncomfortable unless you're certain it's being played for laughs. Joey, the bandleader, has a past with Jessica that doesn't play very prominently beyond affectionate concern disguised as being a prick. More interesting is the growing thrall of the band's roadie in the presence of his bloodthirsty tour-mates, garnished with a fly-eating Dracula nod, and the increased involvement of the band's manager, played by Dave Foley (do I really have to tell anyone he's from Kids In the Hall?), as the body count rises with the group's popularity. He's part of the film's fortuitous casting coup, along with musicians Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Alex Lifeson, Carole Pope and Moby (as a hardcore vegan playing a punk rocker named Beef, who rubs raw meat on his body during performances). Malcolm McDowell even drops in to have some fun playing a version of Van Helsing, who's afraid of the dark. With a cast of personalities this vast, one wonders why Stefaniuk spends so much time on shots of the band playing songs we're supposed to (and do) believe aren't good enough to warrant attention without the vampire theatrics? A pretty decent "Making Of" is the lone feature, and charismatic words of wisdom from Alice Cooper and a look at the stop motion process used for transition shots almost make it worth its excessive length. Stefaniuk repeatedly mentions his ambition of not sucking, but clumsily stumbles into the suction perimeter of musical self-indulgence, to the point of disservice to the film's comedic potential. At least Suck doesn't blow. (Alliance)