Fans of ''High Fidelity,'' Nick Hornby's best-selling novel about the romantic travails of a music-obsessed record-store owner, may be dismayed to learn that the film version, directed by Stephen Frears and set to open March 31, switches the story's location from London to Chicago. Perhaps to compensate for the shock of ''Fidelity'' being reborn in the USA, everyone's favorite red, white, and blue rock hero, Bruce Springsteen, makes a brief appearance as himself in the flick. The Boss is shown picking some bluesy guitar licks and offering jokey, extemporaneous-sounding advice to the film's lovelorn protagonist Rob Gordon (played by John Cusack).
In the book, Rob wishes that he could handle his feelings about his ex-girlfriends as levelheadedly as the narrator of Springsteen's ''Bobby Jean'' does. ''We just played that idea out a little bit in the script by actually having Springsteen advise [Rob],'' says the movie's coscreenwriter and coproducer D.V. DeVincentis. Springsteen declined to comment on his role, but apparently the lure of Hollywood was enough to snare the superstar's cooperation. ''John [Cusack] called Bruce, and for some reason he showed up,'' says DeVincentis. Yeah, yeah -- dude probably got free Springsteen tickets, too.