It takes a talented director and an even more talented cast to be able to turn a hit Broadway play into a big blockbuster film. Adam Shankman, who brought us Hairspray a couple of years ago, decided to try his luck again by bringing Rock of Ages to the big screen. He was not able to pull it off this time. I’m an eighties rock baby and enjoy the head-banging hits of the 70’s and 80’s, so I was very excited about this film. If you’re a fan of this music and enjoy hearing covers and mash-ups, then you may have something to look forward to. The musical numbers include a wide range of hits from Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Journey and many more. If you want good acting and a look at what eighties rock n roll was really like, watching this film will make you want to cringe.
Any musical film consists of some awkward moments when the artists start singing their songs in the middle of the street, record store, or even church. It is so unnatural. You have to be able to get over that uncomfortable feeling to enjoy the song. If you can’t, then you will hate the movie. It’s essentially a play on the big screen and the cheesy overacting and choreography continually reminds you of that.
I was not a fan of Julianne Hough’s acting. She is definitely a great dancer and looks beautiful, but quality acting should not be on her resume. It hurts to watch her try to convey emotions. The other lead,,, does better but not by much. The chemistry between the two did not seem real and I had difficulty evoking any sort of empathy for them. The real treat in the film is Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx. He plays a strung out, drunken rock star with such ease. I wonder if he used method acting in order to prepare for the role. Despite me disliking him in regards to his personal life, I really enjoyed him on screen. You even get to see him rock out on stage shirtless, fake tattoos and all, to “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”
Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin entertain the audience with token comedic humor about rock n roll and needless banter throughout the movie. They are fun to watch. However, even these two veteran actors aren’t immune to some awkward lines in the film. A lot of the mashups were catchy and I liked seeing how they related the lyrics to the plot.
The movie is over two hours long so you will definitely feel like you are sitting in a play. My recommendation is that if you want to see this movie, pony up the cash and go see the actual play it is based on. That way you get the welcoming experience of good actors who can actually sing!
Catch Mike’s Review of Rock of Ages