Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages

(2012)

Nothin' but a good time.

Big city musical based in late ’80s LA, set to the glam rock tunes of Styx, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Poison and more. Includes a lofty line-up of stars: Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin. From the director of Hairspray.... More

Based on the broadway show, Rock of Ages follows the romance of small town girl Sherrie (Julianne Hough, Footloose) and city boy Drew (Diego Boneta, 90210), who meet in Hollywood while pursuing dreams of stardom. Baldwin is the owner of nightclub The Bourbon Room, Brand is his right-hand man, Cruise is rock god Stacee Jaxx and Zeta-Jones is religious conservative Patricia, who wants to shut down the club.Hide

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Flicks Review

Ever since it was used in the final scene of the last episode of The Sopranos, Journey's uplifting anthem Don't Stop Believing has been front and centre in popular culture. Endless movies have used it, it was the centrepiece performance of Glee's pilot episode, and now it provides the finale for Rock of Ages.... More

Its usage speaks to my overall impression of the movie – a collection of pop moments already explored extensively elsewhere, presented with all the emotional depth of a kiddie pool.

The story stumbles from one moment to the next, struggling to embody the drive or power of even a below-average rock music video. The endless mashed-up '80s hair-metal hits don't succeed as anything beyond nostalgia items.

I must admit to being intrigued by the idea of Tom Cruise playing a superstar of another medium, but while he's clearly committed to the role, he projects none of the mystique his character supposedly oozes.

The fame-hungry protagonists played by Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta do very little to distinguish themselves, but she looks the part and he garners some of the film's only genuine laughs with a diversion into boy-bandery. Alec Baldwin looks massively out of place, and Russell Brand is very annoying.

You know a film has something seriously wrong with it when you find yourself wistfully recalling the dramatic complexity of 2010's Burlesque, which follows a remarkably similar track (and also featured Hough).

My goodwill for some of the songs here prevents me from giving Rock of Ages one star, but unless you're fully committed to the jukebox musical cause, stay far away from this movie.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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If you enjoyed 'Mamma Mia!' or 'Burlesque' stop reading and go see 'Rock of Ages'... ok?

Are they gone now? Is it safe? Ok...

If 'Mamma Mia!' and 'Burlesque' are the zombies of movies, then their undead, foot-dragging, flesh-drooping, braindead spawn is this horrific bilge that's less akin to a movie and more like an aged, wrinkly, unwanted guest at a party vomiting into your face for two hours. Whereas the Broadway musical on which it was based knew that the 80s soft-pop-glam-rock it... More contained could be cheesy fun - this movie version is so devoid of fun that it's as if director Adam Shankman (he of 'Hairspray' and, er... 'The Pacifier') was completely unaware of his source material or what made it a success. As for Tom Cruise, well, what may have worked in small doses is totally overdone, and the Cruise is overused. But he's not alone in outstaying his welcome - Catherine Zeta-Jones is as cloying and annoying as ever; Russell Brand is a pain in the proverbials and even the usually reliable Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston can do little to gild this musical turd.

That said - if you enjoyed 'Mamma Mia!' or 'Burlesque' go see. You'll most likely love it. Me? I'd rather gouge out my eyes with a rusty spoon than be subjected to this trite mess again... but then 'Mamma Mia!' induced me to projectile vomit and 'Burlesque' put me into a six-week coma, so what do I know?Hide


The Press Reviews

41% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Director Adam Shankman manages to make this film adaptation of the hit Broadway jukebox musical a red hot summer blast for people who grew up with glam metal—or just can't escape it on the radio. Full Review

  • Director Shankman succeeds in draining most of the fun from a vehicle that was all about the winking humor of its flagrant cheesiness. Full Review

  • I haven't seen a movie this bad since 'Battlefield Earth' and 'Howard the Duck'. Full Review

  • Fans of Moulin Rouge–esque repurposing will be in hog heaven. Everyone else will want to hop that midnight train going anywhere pronto. Full Review

  • This affectionate glam-rock-a-thon represents a visually bland staging of frankly insipid material, never tapping into the raucous, go-for-broke energy that would spin the show's cliches into gold, let alone platinum. Full Review

  • It's not every day that you get to see two great American traditions - guitar/bass/drums rock music and Tin Pan Alley musical theater - so thoroughly, mutually degraded. Full Review

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