Rock of Ages: Review

Posted 13/06/2012


Rock of Ages
‘Rock of Ages’ started out as a stage musical, and it shows—though the movie is a love letter to 1980s Hollywood, its feel is pure old-school Broadway. And it’s epic fun to see the stellar cast, including veteran actors like Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones and, yes, Tom Cruise, bust dance moves while belting out guilty-pleasure rock anthems by the likes of Def Leppard, Journey, and Twisted Sister.

As with many musicals, the plot plays second fiddle to the song-and-dance numbers. Small-town girl Sherrie (the fetching Julianne Hough) and struggling rocker Drew (the charming Diego Boneta) meet and fall in love at seedy Los Angeles nightclub the Bourbon Room. There, impresario Dennis Dupree (Baldwin) and sidekick Lonny (Russell Brand) are prepping for a historic performance by super-sexy rock god Stacee Jaxx (Cruise) … but the show attracts the ire of the moralistic mayor’s wife (Zeta-Jones) and threatens the romance between Sherrie and Drew.

A joyful, ebullient mood runs through ‘Rock of Ages’ (even during its requisite true-lovers-torn-asunder montage sequence). That’s largely because its stars, like Zeta-Jones, Baldwin, and Malin Akerman as a nebbishy reporter, seem delighted to play against type. (And up-and-comers Hough and Boneta seem delighted to perform alongside them.) Cruise, especially, throws himself into his opportunity to go totally over the top with an unlikely choice of character—and his star wattage really helps Stacee Jaxx come across as a larger-than-life figure.

Though the ’80s vibe is obviously in full effect, ‘Rock of Ages’ also inspires nostalgia on a different level: for classic musicals with elaborate choreography and period-perfect costumes. (Although here, they involve lots of black spandex and leather chaps.) If you’re the sort who wouldn’t be caught dead in a karaoke bar, you probably won’t appreciate this cinematic paean to power ballads. But moviegoers looking for nothing but a good time won’t do better than this.

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