Spitting out voice-over like a semi-automatic clip of “fuck you”s, Gina Gershon joins this year’s cadre of fortysomething hotties scorching screens from here to Laurel Canyon. Bringing the same refreshing sense of camp she lent to her cutthroat pole-swinger in Showgirls and Ugly American boot-fetishist in demonlover, she plays an aging bisexual wannabe rock star in Alex Steyermark’s Prey for Rock & Roll, agonizing about whether it’s time to hang up her trusty Gibson SG. Fearlessly inviting the camera into her deepening wrinkles and hollering corn-nut tunes like an avenging angel, Gershon transcends the script’s “quest for record contract” goofiness. When we arrive on the scene, her Jacki is struggling to keep up band morale while trust-fund-baby bassist (Drea de Matteo) descends into sloppy addiction and the band’s two lovers—lead guitarist (Lori Petty) and drummer (Shelly Cole)—parse their relationship and deal with past abuse.
If the music didn’t rot, tastily butch “I Love Rock N Roll” speechifying and a couple of great hay-rolling tussles—one between Gershon and a dildoed girlfriend who’s fed up with band-widow status, the other between de Matteo and her kinky bad-penny beau Nick (Ivan Martin)—might put this flick in the running for cult classic. The brutal Scarlet Letter comeuppance when Nick’s rape fantasy crosses the line provides wickedly gory girl-power catharsis. Unfortunately, despite pretty-on-the-inside performances from the four kickass Clamdaddies, too many extra shake-ups end up crowding out the characters, and distract from the easy camaraderie and slice-of-life intimacy that lures us into their van to begin with.