Review: Rock of Ages
By Matt Goodman
Rock of Ages is essentially a major misfire for what could have been something energetic and entertaining. While the music is top notch and the performances are decent, I couldn’t help but wonder how this went so wrong. The two leads are unbearable and irritating, while Tom Cruise is the film’s one saving grace as the eccentric Stacee Jaxx.
Set in the late 80’s in Los Angeles, Rock of Ages follows the love connection between Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) and Drew Boley (Diego Boneta), who meet when Sherrie’s rock LP’s are stolen. Drew is a bartender at the well-known Bourbon club, and Drew manages to get Sherrie a job. Both Sherrie and Drew are amateur singers, and Drew gets a chance to open for Stacee Jaxx.
Meanwhile, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the mayor’s wife, expresses her disgust for Stacee and plans to clean up The Strip (the little community where the Bourbon is located) by removing this horrendous club.
Rock of Ages actually has a very cluttered storyline. I could have sworn that I was expected to follow six or seven storylines simultaneously, which is NOT a good way to watch a film (unless it’s done right, of course). What I liked about director Adam Shankman’s previous musical-movie Hairspray was its likability and simplicity. Rock of Ages is only at its best when the actors are singing; when they aren’t, the film is a mess.
Rock of Ages stars just about everyone, including Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, with Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise (who can sing damn well). The only issue in the acting department was the ridiculousness of J. Blige who was an unneeded addition. In fact, the whole stripper plot was unneeded!
Go see Rock of Ages for the music; rent it for the story if you must.
Rating: 2 out of 5