Today: July 10, 2024

Rock Of Ages

The rock scene in the 80s was a setting for all kinds of sordid debauchery and over-indulgence

The rock
scene in the 80s was a setting for all kinds of sordid debauchery and
: sweaty, mulleted stars binging on groupies and
cocaine while wearing leather trousers and explosive groin pyrotechnics. Of
course, Rock Of Ages portrays this phenomenon in a way that is appropriate for
its clean-cut teen demographic – it’s less sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and
more making out, booze and rock-pop. Still, it boasts some killer tunes, and
that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

It shouldn’t be, of course. This adaptation of the popular stage musical
has been made with one eye firmly on the Glee
market and, as a result, it’s all a bit too squeaky clean. Young leads Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta look like they graduated from stage school the day
before filming, gazing gushily into each other’s eyes as they belt out a highly
polished vocal and it’s all a bit too wet.
And yet, with a great supporting cast turning in hugely entertaining
performances, and a catchy cock-rock chorus never too far away, this film is a
lot more fun than it has any right to be.

Hough plays Sherrie, a wannabe singer who arrives in Los Angeles, meets
cute Boneta’s Drew and winds up working at the legendary Bourbon Room, a rock
club managed by Dennis (Alec Baldwin)
and Lonny (Russell Brand). As the
club prepares for an upcoming gig by dazed, hedonistic rock god Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), Drew gets his own shot at
fame and the club comes under threat from the local mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who leads
protests to have the venue shut down.

Between the ‘bar maid hoping for fortune and fame’ plot and the constant
musical mash-ups, Rock Of Ages comes across as Coyote Ugly meets Glee. Or Coyote Ug-Glee, if you like. It
therefore has all the makings of one of the guiltiest of guilty pleasures,
although this does mean that allowances have to be made for the very nature of
musicals. Otherwise you’ll be left exasperated at how each song is shoe-horned
in at any given moment to suit the situation, or at how Drew insists on being
shy and suffering from stage fright between all of the SINGING he does.

Still, even forgiving the phony staging of every scene (not to mention
Russell Brand’s haphazard attempt at a Brummie accent), the film remains
thoroughly watchable. This is thanks mostly to Tom Cruise’s enigmatic
performance as Stacee Jaxx, a rock singer so fully gorged on the fruits of his
stardom that he staggers about in a whiskey-fuelled state of bewilderment and
faux-spirituality. His jaded lifestyle is the perfect foil to the wide-eyed
hope of Sherrie and Drew and is, frankly, a lot more fun to watch.

While this alone doesn’t quite make up for the film’s vacuous stars,
when combined with some great comic moments from Brand and Baldwin, as well as
some truly entertaining choreography, Rock Of Ages is both nauseating and
entertaining in equal measure. It may not be a movie that gets stuck in your
head for hours after, but it’s easy to get caught up in the film’s many
melodies all the same.

Previous Story

We Are The Night

Next Story


Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

In a Violent Nature

Michael Myers. Jason Vorhees. Leatherface. And now, Johnny. Yes, In a Violent Nature’s grisly killer has quickly established himself as a new horror legend who will almost certainly become a cult favourite

Civil War Unboxing

Alex Garland’s harrowing dystopian vision Civil War was an unforgettable experience in the cinema – particularly IMAX – thanks to its stunning cinematography but more so that chilling sound design that gave

The Moon Steelbook Unboxing

K-Pop sensation Doh Kyung-soo (better known as D.O.) stars in this thrilling survival sci-fi from filmmaker Kim Yong-hwa, available now in a gorgeous 4K UHD Steelbook release. The Moon is a compelling

Sopranos legend Dominic Chianese tells his story

This Friday night, legendary actor Dominic Chianese – best known for his unforgettable performance as Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano in HBO’s The Sopranos – tells his story through words and music in Windsor. 


What’s the first thing you think of when you think of stop-motion? You probably think of Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, Ray Harryhausen, or Laika’s output. But as proven in
Go toTop