Review: Rock of Ages
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
Like Mama Mia on acid, Rock of Ages is sure to put a smile on your face, and a beat in your step...
How much you get out of Rock Of Ages, director Adam Shankman’s adaptation of the 2006 Broadway musical, depends on two things. The first is whether you love the hair metal of the 1980s, represented in the movie by the likes of Poison, Bon Jovi and Twisted Sister, and the second is whether you consider the likes of Mama Mia (2008) and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994) to be cheese of the easily digestible, light and fluffy Philadelphia variety, rather than hard to swallow, mouldy old Stilton, because Rock Of Ages is essentially Moulin Rouge (2001) with a mullet.
If, like me, you’re a child of the 1980s rock scene (or if you have a familiarity with the scene) then you’ll find yourself grinning every few minutes as the cast sing yet another classic song, whether it be Twisted Sister’s iconic I Wanna Rock, Bon Jovi’s atmospheric Wanted Dead Or Alive (a jaw dropping performance by Tom Cruise, more on which in a moment), Whitesnake’s anthemic Here I Go Again, or Journey’s ode to overcoming adversity and realising your dreams, Don’t Stop Believing. Even those with the most casual knowledge of the 80s will find themselves humming along and tapping their feet.
Though the plot of Rock Of Ages won’t have anybody tearing their hair out to try and follow it (and there’s a lot of hair on show here), the wafer thin simplicity of the ‘boy meets girl, boy loses girl to rock star, boys wins girl back and everyone lives happily ever after’ makes watching the film a joy, allowing the viewer to just sit back with a beer and a bowl of popcorn and just enjoy the experience. Rock Of Ages is just shy of two hours of pure, unadulterated entertainment.
Of course it’s not just the music that makes this movie quite literally rock. The two star-crossed leads, fresh faced Diego Boneta as bar tending rock star wannabe Drew Boley and professional ballroom dance and country music singer Julianne Hough as small town girl Sherrie Christian, exude the kind of chemistry that directors would die for. Furthermore, both are aptly supported by Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin - as the manager and owner respectively - and Catherine Zeta Jones as the mayor’s religious conservative wife whose mission in life is to rid the Strip of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll by closing down the Bourbon Room.
Then, of course, there’s the real star of the movie, burned out rock star Stacee Jaxx, which might just be the best role that a certain Thomas Cruise Mapother IV has played for quite a while. From the moment he appears on screen, Cruise is totally believable as the alcoholic, washed up singer of fictional band Arsenal, and manages to run the gamut of emotions from dark and vulnerable, when he belts out Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead Or Alive (in his own voice, no less, which is actually pretty good), to light and comic, when he sings Foreigner’s I Want To Know What Love Is to Rolling Stone journalist Constance Sack’s backside (played by Watchmen’s (2009) Malin Akerman – all of her, that is, not just her backside).
Though there are the predictable by numbers moments of pathos and melancholy necessary for the story, Rock Of Ages is an uplifting musical comedy (with Brand and Baldwin providing a particularly laugh out loud performance in the third act) that, as per my caveat at the start of this review, anybody who loves 80s rock and movie musicals will have nothing but a good time with. To paraphrase Jack Black’s Tenacious D, this may not be the greatest movie in the world, but it’s a hard rocking tribute to the hair metal rock scene that will make anybody with a love of laughter and loud guitars raise their fists and yell!
A three minute look at the Bourbon Room set and a ten minute performance by Def Leppard (who wrote the titular song way back when), and not a whole lot else. The Blu Ray, however, adds a decent amount of additional material, including an extended cut, but this wasn’t available for this review.
For lovers of rock and cheesy musicals:
For everybody else:
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