The smartest thing music-video director Meiert Avis did in his second feature, Undiscovered, was including a skateboard-riding bulldog. Not shockingly, the pushin’ pooch is the most entertaining member of a cast whose best-known performer is…Ashlee Simpson. (Her dad is an executive producer of the film.) Actually, Jessica’s li’l sis doesn’t prove to be a terrible actor—her breathy “singing,” however, is another story—but her thinly drawn character is as blank as the rest in John Galt’s debut screenplay. Also lacking is any sense of time in this Fame wannabe, which first jumps years and then…weeks? months? as it tells the story of Brier (Pell James), a model/actress, and Luke (Steven Strait), a singer/toolbox. Brier and Luke first spy each other when he drops his glove for her to pick up on a New York subway; two years later, both are in Los Angeles, trying to make it big. Naturally, on the basis of their 10-second eye-lock in New York, the pair are in love, but it cannot be: Brier is committed to a philandering rocker who’s never around. But since the long-haired, thin-mustached, icily Fabio’d Luke is so gosh-darn talented, Brier and her new best pal, Clea (Simpson), start generating fake buzz about him via the Internet and the paid-for attention of a cheesy Brazilian socialite (Shannyn Sossamon, spouting a different accent in every scene). Though Captain Hair’s sudden fame is as unbelievable as the character is unappealing, at least he’s shown working—which can’t be said for Brier, who besides one mention of a commercial callback seems to have ditched her ambitions in favor of hitching on to Luke’s star. This is hardly the only whoops in Avis’ lifeless drama: Honorable mentions go to Carrie Fisher’s embarrassingly wooden turn as Brier’s agent; Avis’ terribly muddled camerawork, which at one point marries strobe lights to quick cuts to make the action completely incomprehensible; and such histrionic dialogue as “You didn’t hurt me—you killed me!” over a relationship that, once again, is built on a glance through subway doors. Then again, there is one line that explains why the no-talent, low-budget Undiscovered even exists: “It’s not about the money—it’s about the money.” —Tricia Olszewski

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