*½/**** Image C- Sound C Extras C
starring Bette Midler, Alan Bates, Frederic Forrest
screenplay by Bill Kerby and Bo Goldman
directed by Mark Rydell
by Walter Chaw Lenny by way of John Waters, Mark Rydell's The Rose is a film made obsolete by years of "Behind the Music"--this story of a Janis Joplin-inspired singer boozin' her way into a theatrical grave counts a lack of vitality and anything resembling surprise as chief among its faults. Bette Midler's performance scored an Oscar nomination in 1980, but it lands with a shrillness now that defeats its attempts at pathos and depth. Why we should care about a self-destructive blues siren with impulse control issues is one of those things unwisely taken for granted while by now, twenty-three years after the fact, the lessons of hedonism and the downward spirals of the performing kind are curiously tepid, delivered as they are with a bullhorn and a bad Otis the Town Drunk impersonation.