Rock stars, as a rule, don’t make very good movie stars. They’re so accustomed to viewing themselves as the hottest thing in the room that they instinctively turn the tiniest moments into extravagant gestures of self-regard. But Jon Bon Jovi, in The Leading Man (BMG Independents), proves he’s the rare celebrity musician who knows how to underplay. It helps that he’s been cast as a character not too far from himself – a shaggy-haired movie idol named Robin Grange who shows up in London, complete with ”anonymous” Val Kilmer sunglasses, all to make his stage debut.
A lothario of awesome charm and guile, Robin is never more deceptive than when he’s exploiting his smooth sincerity. Before long, he stumbles into a roiling backstage melodrama he realizes he can use to his advantage: The play’s distinguished author (Lambert Wilson) is having a tormented affair with his leading lady (Thandie Newton), putting his wife (Anna Galiena) in a state of raging revolt. Robin kindly offers his services as a clandestine gigolo. The Leading Man is nothing but a soap opera, but Bon Jovi, as Robin, ends up seducing everyone in sight, including the audience. B