Max is a business dad. You can tell this because Rock the House starts with a moody montage of him working all hours to earn that dollar. He’s always surrounded by boxes (full of business, presumably) and saying things like “1000%” to make it obvious that he’s a wanker.
His daughter Karen is so disdainful of his every action that she’s contemplating moving to a different state- which both of her parents are cool with but I’m all, how are you going to pay for that? You gonna get a job and study for your high school finals and rent your own flat? Karen is probably the most stereotypical unimpressed teenager in film, with around 80% of her lines being sighs/groans of exasperation.
I too would be reacting like that if my dad decided he wanted to get “the old band” back together again after a high school reunion. (The band pretend it’s a spontaneous reunion but they all wore their matching leather jackets. You tell me that’s not premeditated.) I know what you’re all thinking: a 40-something gets his teen band back on the road again? I have literally no craps to give! And you’re right, but here’s where we enter opposite land. Embarrassing parents are the equivalent to the ground swallowing you up if you’re a poorly written caricature of a teenager, right? Not in this world!
Karen’s a total lame-o, to be fair. She openly declares, “I have no friends”. God Karen, not with that attitude you don’t! All she does is doodle and look moody and wander off on her own (“I have plans” don’t feed me that BS Karen, you just said you had no friends). Somehow, SOMEHOW, her dad being in a band helps her integrate into prom committee- I know! We’re through the looking glass! It’s not even like their songs are cool- they only play 3, and one of them has the lyrics “I put my pants on/ two legs at a time”. I refuse to believe teenagers would choose that over Mr Brightside.
The interesting thing about this film is that as soon as Max and Karen stop forcing their cinema trips, they actually get on way better. It’s almost as if the moral is, never plan to spend time with your dad. Except if it’s for personal gain, because for Karen that works out just fine.
Dad rating: Walking wallet. (two stars)