Thursday, July 16, 2015

Three Cheers for Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

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I’m into Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. The show. I mean the show.

Fans of Denis Leary's stand-up comedy and TV shows like The Job and Rescue Me know to expect a no-holds-barred, brash style which will have an insightful, yet brutal, honesty. With the possible exception of his voice work in the animated Ice Age movies, Leary could never be accused of being warm, cuddly, and lovable. Thus it should come as no surprise that Leary’s talent for in-your-face, deeply-flawed characters is on full display in the new FX series Rock & Roll.

Leary isn’t out to glamorize the rock lifestyle or make himself look cool. Johnny Rock, lead singer of the Heathens, is an egotistical jerk unaware of how much he looks like an idiot with his childish behavior. He boasts in a bar about a younger woman’s attraction to him, only to find himself punched in the crotch when it turns out to be his daughter.

As the daughter, Elizabeth Gillies holds her own with Leary. She insists he revive his songwriting partnership with Heathens’ guitarist Flash (played by John Corbett) to boost her career. Instead of seeing an opportunity to connect with the daughter he never knew he had, Leary sees only dollar signs. By the end, however, his own twisted version of fatherly protectiveness sets up a hilarious scene where he lambasts his bandmates for objectifying his daughter.

Based on Leary’s track record, this won’t veer into sappy territory with touching scenes of father and daughter bonding. He’ll continue his bad behavior and frustrate everyone around him. She will prove to be the only one capable of taming him. I’m sold.

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