Rock Of Ages
- Director:Adam Shankman
- Cast:Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Julianne Hough
- Release Date:June 14, 2012
- Running time:123 minutes
- Film Worth:$14.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Big, brash and downright bizarre in places, this plays out like a guilty musical pleasure.
Watching Rock Of Ages is kind of like sitting in the front row at an end-of-year high school stage musical, where you're strangely uncomfortable in the knowledge that you're going to witness people that you know doing things that they don't normally do. Adapted by choreographer-turned-director Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner, Bedtime Stories) from Chris D'Arienzo's hit Broadway musical built on the hair-metal anthems of the late eighties, this big, brash, loud and ludicrously camp song-fest is filled with eye popping moments of career-risking weirdness from several big name movie stars that will stick to the inside of your head like beer-sodden bar carpet does to your shoes at 3:00am on a Saturday night. A potential guilty musical pleasure to rival Xanadu and Can't Stop The Music, Rock Of Ages is alternately chaste and raunchy, smart and stupid, straight and camp, and, well, good and bad.
It's the late eighties, and young wannabe singers, Drew (Diego Boneta) and Sherrie (Julianne Hough), are on LA's lurid, rock'n'roll ground zero of The Sunset Strip, home to the infamous Bourbon Room, run by old rock dog, Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and his cockney sidekick, Lonny (Russell Brand). Circling like buttoned down wolves are conservative politico, Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston), and his prim but fiery wife, Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who want to close the salacious beer-and-rock barn down and clean up The Sunset Strip. Their biggest enemy is sleaze supreme rock god, Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), a sexed up singer with a pet monkey called Hey Man and a whole bag-load of bad habits.
Skinny on plot but heavy on theatrics, Rock Of Ages salutes the ridiculous at every turn. Though its central love story is about as soft-boiled as something out of The Sound Of Music (youngsters Hough and Boneta do, however, make for a very cute couple), it's the supporting players who really rock this cinematic house. Even the mind blowingly, profoundly, utterly awful singing of the aforementioned and otherwise talented Ms. Hough (if she was on her off-screen boyfriend Ryan Seacrest's show, American Idol, she wouldn't get past the first round of auditions) is quickly put in the shade by the bizarre antics of Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman (as a Rolling Stone journalist with, um, boundary issues when it comes to Stacee Jaxx), and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
All pumped up testosterone and over-the-top slouched cool, The Cruiser has a high, clear singing voice, which he puts to good use on a number of belters, including a crazy version of Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is", which - at one point - he croons into Malin Akerman's vagina...from behind. Ahem, is it getting hot in here? Zeta-Jones, meanwhile, delivers a ball-crunching take on Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", which is intercut with scenes of her creepy husband being pants-down spanked by his enthusiastically accommodating secretary in an adjoining room. Paul Giamatti even gets in on the act as Stacee Jaxx' slimy manager, while a wigged up Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand going hammer-and-tongs on REO Speedwagon's classic rock hit, "Can't Fight This Feeling", literally has to be seen to be believed.
Though too long by at least twenty minutes - a tedious subplot involving R'n'B singer turned (very bad) actor Mary J. Blige's strip club owner should have been consigned to the DVD deleted scenes package - Rock Of Ages is like a big, loud, metal-screeching train wreck that you can't take your eyes off. As the sparks fly around your head, you know that you probably shouldn't be getting high on all the silly sound and fury of it all, but you just can't help yourself. Kind of like eighties hair-metal itself...