Tom Cruise tries valiantly, bringing all his ‘star power’ to his inflated role in “Rock Of Ages”, but along with all the inflated production numbers he fails as well as the numbers do. The second shot of him in the movie are his bare buns and they are holding up well unfortunately though he has a great body for a 50 year old---I bet that makes a lot of you reading this feel old!--it’s not the body he had in the 1980s when this picture takes place.
All the cliches are here from boy (Diego Boneta) meets girl (Julianne Hough), boy loses girl, boy gets girl plus the owner (Alec Baldwin) who will lose his club because he can’t pay his taxes while the mayor's (Bryan Cranston) wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) aims to get the club closed by leading groups of protesters to march in front of the club. Oh, don’t forget the storylines about the big rock star full of himself who owns a monkey and then we have to have the Black ‘Madam” (Mary J. Blige) with a heart of gold and the conniving manager (Paul Giamatti). By the way we might as well throw in the reporter (Malin Akerman who at one point I confused with Hough) with glasses, who writes a nasty story about the rock star, takes off her glasses, lets her hair down and I bet you can guess who she winds up with. To keep the movie contemporary we have to have the gay angle. Darn it I didn’t mention about the mayor’s other life--no, that’s not the gay angle--or his wife and who she use to be. In both cases you probably won’t be the least surprised. Not having enough plot lines the writers (Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb and Justin Theroux--D’Arienzo wrote the book for the Broadway hit by himself) bring in Russell Brand as the manager of the club. Would you be surprised to hear that ‘the girl’ is a country girl from Tulsa who has come to Hollywood to be a star singer? I didn’t think so.
All the actors acquit themselves well but after seeing Brand in the remake of “Arthur” and in this film I might avoid future films of his. Zeta-Jones puts herself out there, looks great and handles her “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” as the winner she is. Cruise has to be given a big hand for really putting himself out there, sometimes going overboard but giving his all to the role and his image. If, as it says in the credits, it is his voice then he deserves the kudos for his singing.
The musical numbers are so over produced that as familiar as you may be with metal rock/hard rock music all the songs blend into one. They all are edited very poorly which is the fault of the director, Adam Shankman, and/or the editor, Emma E. Hickox.
“Rock of Ages” was originally an off-Broadway show and then was transferred to Broadway where it is still playing. It was/is mainly the interaction between the actors and audience when the former broke/break the 4th wall plus the feeling, at times, of a rock concert that has made it so successful .
There are 20+ songs on the soundtrack, that was released this month, and if you are into the music of Bon Jovi, Guns ‘N Roses, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, Twisted Sister, REO Speedwagon, etc., then download or buy the soundtrack and enjoy it as that would be a better investment of your money and time.