Thursday, June 21, 2012

Film Review: Rock of Ages

Let's get the obvious out of the way right away.  Rock of Ages will never be thought of as any great work of cinema.  It will never be included with other great musicals like Singin' in the Rain or An American in Paris.  It will never be whispered along with films like Cabaret or On the Town or even amongst lesser musicals like Chicago or its closest kin Moulin Rouge.  Come year's end, it will not be talked about when discussing the best cinematic achievements of 2012.  What it will do though, is be a larkish entertainment for two hours for those with certain proclivities toward the hair bands of the 1980's - a group which, for better or for worse, must include this critic.  Sure, it is silly and oft-times quite ridiculous, but hey, sometimes a thing like that is just how you want to spend your afternoon and/or evening.

Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, Rock of Ages takes the music of such Hair Metal bands as Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Poison, Twisted Sister, Reo Speedwagon, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Night Ranger and others, and incorporates them into the story of a Whisky-a-Go-Go-esque L.A. nightclub called the Bourbon Room (Ha!  I get it!) and those who run it, work it and perform it.   Starring Mexican-born soap star and singer Diego Boneta and country music star and Footloose remake sexpot Julianne Hough as the titular leads of the film, Rock of Ages acts as a rags to riches story with the backdrop of rock and roll baby.  Also starring Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand as the head honcho and lackey of the aforementioned Bourbon Room, who do a hilarious cover of a certain Reo Speedwagon tune; Paul Giamatti as an oily slick agent; Mary J. Blige as a strip club owner who seems kind of out of place in the genre; Catherine Zeta-Jones as the sexiest prim and proper prude this side of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin (think a sultry and smokin' version of Tipper Gore); and of course Tom Cruise as rock icon Stacee Jaxx, a strangely alluring melange of Keith Richards, Axl Rose and Jim Morrison.

Now Cruise actually ain't half bad here.  His voice is more than competent for the type of music he is singing.  This is more the Magnolia Cruise rather than the Mission Impossible Cruise - and it works.  As for the rest of the film, it certainly has its flaws, but like I stated above - it sure is fun, especially for those of us who have actually seen groups like Poison and Bon Jovi in concert back in their hey days.  Yeah, that would be me.  If anything, my biggest complaint music-wise is the omission of some obvious necessities, such as Warrant's Cherry Pie or Lita Ford's Kiss Me Deadly.  But then, their may have been rights issues.  The most glaring omission though is a song that is in the Broadway version of the musical.  Why they decided to omit Steve Perry's Oh Sherrie from the film version (save for a few teaser bars early on), especially considering Hough's character name is, you guessed it, Sherrie, is beyond this critic to fathom.  Anyway, all these criticisms aside, in the end the film may be quite silly, but it sure as hell is a lot of fun.


Candice Frederick said...

hey, i dig this movie. it was so enjoyable and it captured the 80s and its music well.

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