Two youngsters head for LA to make it in the rock scene in this silly but vibrant rock musical.
Sherrie (Julianne Hough) arrives in LA with a suitcase full of records and meets wannabe rock star Drew (Diego Boneta). Cue the rock anthems as they fall hopelessly in and out of love. While the performances are fine, their’s is a simple plot that offers nothing new.
Luckily, just when you’re thinking these two characters can’t carry a whole movie, Tom Cruise enters as aging rock-god Stacee Jaxx. Cruise puts in a decent performance as this damaged and lonely star, whose outward pretence is now wearing thin, and gives Rock Of Ages the spark it desperately needs. Constance (Malin Akerman), a reviewer from the Rolling Stone, is the only person brave enough to tell Jaxx what she thinks of him – cue love story number two and a sexy rock ballad.
Meanwhile, Catherine Zeta Jones plays the irritating wife of the LA Mayor. Trying to clean up The Strip, she targets Stacee Jaxx and the famous Bourbon Club run by Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russell Brand). The subsequent and cringeworthy performance of Hit Me With Your Best Shot, performed by a group of middle age women inside a chapel, is one of the more amusing performances that Rock Of Ages has to offer.
As for the music, Don’t Stop Believing is an interesting choice for the film’s main anthem – given that it’s Glee’s most popular and now made sickly-sweet tune – but it does help to tie the disparate plots together. And Rock Of Ages is loaded with many more songs that drag you along by their enthusiasm. The truth is, Rock Of Ages depends on these endless anthems to distract from its silly and often dull script. It’s an overly long film but, when the musical numbers are starting to feel repetitive, Alec Baldwin surprises with a nice twist and one of the few moments in Rock Of Ages that produce a genuine smile.
Rock Of Ages is silly, and often nonsensical, but it has tons of energy and a memorable soundtrack. Tom Cruise provides a striking lead but this may not be enough to save the film for many viewers. Rock Of Ages has fun with the concept of ‘rock’ but it’s a love or hate film, that’s likely to rest on the audience view of its musical numbers.