“This place is about to become a sea of sweat, ear-shattering music and puke.”
I am not sure how I feel about Rock of Ages. It was not bad but it was not like “wow that was awesome!”. I was not attracted to the all star cast or all the glittering sets and pictures I just wanted to hear the music and how everyone sounded on the songs. I was not disappointed with pretty much all the songs they were sung very well.
The story is neither new nor creative. Sherrie (Julianne Hough) comes to Los Angeles in 1987 to try to become a singer from her small town in Oklahoma. Ho, hum bored with the plot already I know I was too. Sherrie gets mugged and a nice sweet boy named Drew (Diego Boneta) helps her. He works across the street at a famous bar called the Bourbon Room. A waitress has walked out and they are in need of a new one (oh movie luck). Drew begs his boss Dennis (Alec Baldwin) to hire Sherrie and, oh hey, she gets the job, big shock there.
Everyone who works in the bar worships the singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise). He is a rock god with some of the biggest hits of the decade with his band Arsenal. Dennis is lucky enough to have Arsenal play their last gig at his place before Stacee goes solo. Meanwhile the new mayor of Los Angeles (Brian Cranston) wants to rid the strip of all the vice that lurks on the streets and get rid of the Bourbon Room and all with the help of his supposed bible banging wife Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
So yeah it is the story of an aging rocker with some issues, a woman fighting against rock n’ roll when she was once its biggest groupies, the main guy and girl having a fall out because he thinks she screwed the rock star when she did not, an old rock club that might be shut down, and an oily manager who wants the money and does not care about music as art. Pretty much summed the movie up right here.
Now I am going to get to what I really want to write about: the performances both acting and singing. Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta were alright. Hough’s singing voice was too high for me and I felt she ruined some of the songs she sang on. Boneta is handsome (I feel weird saying this since he is three years younger than me... whatever I would totally be a cougar with guy!) with a great singing voice but by the end of the movie he got on my nerves. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mary J. Blige’s characters were completely pointless. THE BEST performances come from Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin, and Russell Brand. First off, the best song and scene of the movie is when Cruise and Akerman sing “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Who knew Malin Akerman could sing?! I had no idea and she was awesome! The scene is hysterical and both actors sound fantastic on the song. Cruise was brilliant he completely made the entire movie. The role is so different for him but he just nailed it. And holy crap can the dude belt out those notes! Cruise hit notes that amazed me mostly because I could not believe he could sing. I have never been attracted to Tom Cruise whatsoever I can never see in him what other women see but here he is so HOT!! Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand were like a team. Brand was Baldwin’s right hand man. They were fantastic together. They have a scene that is so funny and so unexpected that you will be laughing so hard. Brand in his films is sometimes a bit too much but he gave a much underplayed performance that I really enjoyed him.
With the typical dull plot with a happy go lucky ending the music is able to keep your attention. You know all the songs already (hopefully you do if you don’t you need some help). Before the singing even started I heard the beat to some of the songs and my feet were moving right along with it. It was awesome to hear “Shadows of the Night” by Pat Benatar near the end that is one of my favorite songs by her. There is music by Foreigner, Journey, Joan Jett, Poison, Bon Jovi, and a bunch more good bands and singers from the 80s.
Rock of Ages is a simple movie that attracts audiences of all kinds. It is glittery and fun but it feels more like pop-fluff than hard rock, it is cute and fluffy trying to make out all the characters are so into rock n’ roll. The only characters that looked like they listened to rock and were rough around the edges were Stacee Jaxx (obviously), Dennis, and Lonny (Russell Brand). But besides this if you can get past the predictable story and Julianne Hough’s singing you will have a good time watching Rock of Ages.