Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) was born to rock. His longtime girlfriend Emily (Jennifer Aniston) believes Chris's talent could take him all the way - but instead of writing his own music, Chris worships at the altar of Bobby Beers, the fiery frontman for Steel Dragon, the heavy metal rock legends that both inspire and consume his life. When Chris Cole is chosen as Steel Dragon's lead singer, he is transformed from a small-town nobody into an instant icon; it all seems way too good to be true. The perks of his sudden hard-rock stardom - the screaming fans, sexy groupies, expensive toys and wild parties - are more than he could have ever imagined.
Chris performs night after night to packed houses, singing the crowd-pleasing Steel Dragon standards. But he begins to realize that something is missing from his dream-come-true; there's no room in his new universe for the people who made it possible for him to get there in the first place - his parents, his buddies back home, and especially Emily, Chris' girlfriend and manager of his tribute band, who finds herself increasingly lost in the backstage crowd. When Emily leaves to find a life of her own and Chris' attempts at lending his own musical ideas to the Steel Dragon mix are rebuffed, Chris begins to feel lost in his new life. He's gotten everything he always wanted... and discovered it is not enough.