Rock of Ages
Written by Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo and Allan Loeb
Directed by Adam Shankman
Starring Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand
Embracing the hair metal scene of the 1980s, Rock of Ages takes very little seriously as it embodies the radical styles of the outrageous time period. Conceived from the hit Broadway musical of the same name, director Adam Shankman brings the famed musical to the big screen, unfortunately proving that sometimes musicals are best left to the stage.
The film revolves around a small town girl named Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) who moves to Hollywood in search of fame, success and love. Arriving in the City of Angels, she bumps into Drew Boley (Diego Boneta), a local busboy and bartender at The Bourbon Room, a rock club located on the sunset strip. The two instantly connect over their mutual infatuation with the glam rock and hair metal scenes, but when Drew gets Sherry a job at the popular rock club, the madness truly begins. Their relationship escalates until Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), a popular rock star, arrives to stir things up.
With one of the most clichéd stories in the book, Rock of Ages is essentially a caricature of American ‘80s rock culture. The ridiculously excessive use of sparkles, fur coats and hairspray buries the already insubstantial storyline, though the film is well aware of its hackneyed status and tries to use it to its advantage. While the plot is stale and overdone, the fact that the creators are willing to mock themselves makes the movie slightly more bearable. The stereotypical representation of each character in the film is clearly done purposefully and is one of the few credible aspects of the film.
If you happen to be looking for an intellectually stimulating activity, going to see this movie wouldn’t be appropriate. When “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” boom out of the movie theatre speakers, you’ll quickly be reminded of a late night karaoke bar or a slightly more hardcore version of a Glee episode. The never-ending cultural references to the ‘80s had the moms in the theatre laughing up a storm, clearly bringing them back to their heyday, but the majority of the younger audience is unlikely to be impressed.
Most of the acting wasn’t the finest quality, but the transformation of Tom Cruise into an alcoholic rocker was a surprising success. At first, it’s admittedly strange and uncomfortable when Cruise is thrusting his pelvis onscreen, and yet it’s also unusually easy to get used to. He’s not particularly sexually appealing as Stacee Jaxx, but he manages to become a somewhat believable character. Nevertheless, watching him sing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” will forever linger as a cringe-worthy movie moment.
Rock of Ages will either become a cult hit, an embarrassing guilty pleasure or a lost oddity to be forgotten a few months after its DVD release. This film is for those who are easily entertained by flashy costumes, lip-syncing and bright lights — just keep in mind that the majority of the hairstyles are often bigger than the brains in the film.
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