out of Five
Running time: 123
Director Adam Shankman delivers a big, old-fashion, cheesy, infectious rock and roll musical which is like listening to your favourite mixtape from the 80s. Despite story issues there are plenty of laughs, lots of big hair and a cast who are obviously having a blast.
What’s it all about?
A big screen musical set to a soundtrack of 80s glam rock classics, Rock of Ages follows young Sherrie Christian (the beautiful Julianne Hough) as she moves from Oklahoma to Los Angeles to follow her dreams of becoming a singer. She meets Drew Boiley (the equally handsome Diego Boneta) on the Sunset Strip and the two quickly develop a relationship by working together at the popular nightclub “The Bourbon Room”, run by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand).
When the club becomes the victim of a smear campaign spearheaded by the Mayor of Los Angeles’ wife Patricia Whitman (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who wants to “clean up the strip”, Dennis enlists the help of the famous rock star Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise). Dennis plans for the notoriously unreliable Stacee Jaxx to perform one last time at the club to raise enough money to fight off the bureaucrats and save the future pf rock and roll on the Strip.
Without a doubt this movie delivers what it promises on the posters; an over-the-top movie musical devoted to the music of the era and unafraid to put that music front and centre. Within minutes of the movie starting a heartwarming moment on a bus changes as the passengers spontaneously break into song, the movie is telling us “don’t take this too seriously”. With that in mind the film is two-hours of nostalgic 80s glam rock worship with an A-list cast who seem to be having a great time belting out such classics as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Anyway You Want It” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.
There are some inventive and memorable set pieces as well as some genuinely funny moments, mostly provided by Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand.
Cruise’s alcoholic superstar character feels a little over-done. This role could have been a great extended cameo but Stacee Jaxx feels like he’s overstayed his welcome. There is a strange tone in the film version of Rock of Ages, being that it can’t decide whether it wants to pay homage to or make fun of the era it’s created around. Overall the film feels a lot “cleaner” than it should for a movie about the hard core haydays of rock and roll, specifically around the topic of sex.
Despite a few plot-related issues the film works well as a vehicle to relive the glory days of 80s glam rock with a decent amount of laughs as long as you don’t take it too seriously. So head to the theatre, let your hair down and tell the cinema to turn it up!
Rock of Ages (M)