“Rock of Ages” (Warner Brothers)
Well it looks like we are going to have to wait until Christmas when we get “Les Miserables” to have a really great movie musical. Tom Cruise and company were supposed to furnish that with “Rock of Ages” but something went wrong, not horribly wrong, but wrong. This film, which is based on the hit Broadway play of the same name, takes place in the 1980’s and tells a story about the last days of rock and roll before boy bands and other aberrations took over the music scene.
The core plot of the film concerns a young girl from Oklahoma named Sherrie (Julianne Hough) arriving in LA and trying to be a star. She meets up with another aspiring artist, Drew Boley (Diego Boneta), and they quickly fall in love. But the road of romance is a rocky one and a lot happens to try to pull them apart.
In the background are various subplots concerning a club owner, Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his assistant, Lonny (Russell Brand); a drugged out rock and roll king named Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise); and a crusading Mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta Jones). Some of these subplots are fairly interesting, especially the Tom Cruise/Stacee Jaxx plot. All of them are more interesting than the core love story.
The movie has one musical number after the other incorporating hit songs from the 80’s. Tom Cruise, yes Tom Cruise, is a surprisingly good musical performer. Mary J Blige is also in the cast to add her quality sound to the music, and Baldwin and Brand know how to sell a song.
Both Hough and Boneta can sing but they are so bland and so cheesy you don’t really care. Their lack of charisma is the big turn off to the movie. You have talented performers singing and dancing their hearts out around this lackluster duo which just emphasizes their lack of talent. Even Paul Giamatti, who plays Jaxx’s agent, can sing a song with more enthusiasm than they.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and sexual situations.
“Rock of Ages” was supposed to be a musical delight along the lines of “Hairspray,” since Adam Shankman directed both movies, but it ended up being in the “Burlesque” ballpark. In fact this movie is quite akin to “Burlesque” with Hough in the Aguilera role and Baldwin in Cher’s.
Cruise delivers in this movie, and the songs are good but Hough and Boneta drag it down. They should be the sweet center but instead are the rotten core.
I scored “Rock of Ages” a less than solid 6 out of 10.
Photo courtesy of: Warner Brothers
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