An undeniable air of authenticity permeates this indie effort about an all-girl punk rock band, co-written by Cheri Lovedog based on her own experiences and directed by veteran music supervisor Alex Steyermark.
While the story line often comes uncomfortably close to melodrama, “Prey for Rock and Roll,” is an entertaining and sometimes even moving portrait of a veteran band that never quite hits the big time. Although the film will have to face the commercial hurdle faced by most rock-themed efforts, the sexy and charismatic star presence of Gina Gershon in yet another lesbian role shouldn’t hurt at all.
Gershon plays Jacki, the 40-year-old lead guitarist and singer of a female punk rock band, which despite many years of effort, is still playing L.A. clubs and dives in search of that ever-elusive record contract. The band’s other members are bassist Tracy (Drea De Matteo), who has problems with both drugs and men; lead guitarist Faith (Lori Petty), who augments her income by teaching guitar to highly untalented if enthusiastic teens; and drummer Sally (Shelly Cole), Faith’s sweet younger lover.
Among the various plot elements in Lovedog and Robin Whitehouse’s meandering screenplay, based on a stage play by the former, is the arrival of “Animal” (Marc Blucas), Sally’s older brother, who has just been released from prison after serving a murder sentence. The heavily tattooed and muscular Animal initially seems a threatening figure, but he turns out to be a virginal nice guy who quickly develops the hots for the older Jacki. Uninterested at first, Jacki, who happens to run her own tattoo parlor, soon finds herself drawn to the gentle ex-con, whose crime turns out to have been highly personal in nature.
The film’s episodic story line, which also includes interludes involving a revenge enacted upon Tracy’s brutally violent boyfriend and the death of one of the central characters, is ultimately less interesting than the well-drawn characterizations and the authentic evocation of the L.A. rock club milieu. Fully realized in every detail, the film even features not-too-shabby rock numbers, with Gershon providing credible live vocals. Performances are utterly convincing all around. Gershon is both sultry and tough as the frustrated Jacki, and her make-out session early in the film should well please her “Bound” fans. De Matteo and Petty are equally effective as the tougher members of the band, while Cole provides a gentle counterpoint as Sally. Steyermark makes an assured directorial debut, while the various design elements are right on the mark.