Movie review: Rock of Ages

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Rock of Ages.
Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Rock of Ages. David James - The PR Company

THERE is only one thing you need to keep in mind when you go to see Rock of Ages - it is supposed to be camp, cheesy and tacky.

The film adaptation of the hit stage musical celebrates everything great about the 1980s, from teased hair and shoulder pads to annoyingly infectious rock ballads.

Everything is over the top in this grungy tale of the rise and fall of music careers on Hollywood's Sunset Strip.

As an unashamedly big fan of the musical, I believe movie does a pretty good job of capturing the essence of the live show.

Rather than being the driving force of the film, the plot is a thread used to tie together hit '80s glam rock songs including We're Not Gonna Take It, Waiting for a Girl Like You, Wanted Dead or Alive and Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

It's like the soundtrack to an '80s-themed karaoke night, and don't feel bad about singing along in the cinema.

Just like I was singing the songs days after seeing the musical, the morning after seeing the movie I woke up with show-closing song Don't Stop Believing on rotation in my head.

Live music venue The Bourbon Bar is the central point around which all of the characters orbit, from the bar's owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin) to wannabe rock god/bar bitch Drew (Diego Boneta) and naïve Oklahoma blow-in Sherrie (Julianne Hough).

Tom Cruise is surprisingly good as sex-charged Arsenal front man Stacee Jaxx, embodying the epitome of the rock'n'roll lifestyle.

His singing isn't half bad and his baboon companion Hey Man, which Cruise reportedly insisted be in the film as Stacee's accessory, provides plenty of laughs.

Those who have seen the musical, either the Australian production which toured the country last year or any of the overseas versions, will notice a few storyline and character changes.

The German father and son who wanted to clean up the Strip in the stage show have been replaced with the Mayor's seemingly straight-laced and fanatical wife, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Band manager Paul Gill, played by Paul Giamatti, has a bigger part in the film and there's a greater focus on Stacee's Rolling Stone interview with journalist Constance Stack, played by Swedish actress Malin Akerman.

If Rock of Ages makes you a little bit nostalgic for the music and fashion of the '80s, assuming you're old enough to remember, then it's done its job.

Rock of Ages opens in cinemas on Thursday.

 

Rock of Ages

  • Stars: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Director: Adam Shankman
  • Rating: M
  • Verdict: 3/5 stars

Topics:  movie, movie review, rock of ages



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