Rock of Ages, 2012.
Directed by Adam Shankman.
Starring Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin and Mary J. Blige.
A small town girl moves to Los Angeles with ambitions to make it as a singer.
In 2007, director Adam Shankman had a surprise hit with the remake of Hairspray. It was a fun movie and had a lot going for it. Now he’s directed Rock of Ages and the question is, can he recreate the fun and enjoyment that he put into Hairspray?
The answer would be yes. In Rock of Ages we follow Sherrie (Julianne Hough), a small town girl who moves out to L.A. in hopes of becoming a singer. When she first gets there she meets another aspiring musician Drew (Diego Boneta). He is able to hook her up with a job at The Bourbon Room which is run by the hilarious and scene stealing Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russell Brand). Everyone there is gearing up for one of the biggest nights to ever happen at The Bourbon Room. Rock legend Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) is coming to play one last show with his band Arsenal before he starts his solo career.
The story itself is a little all over the place at times, however it’s not really a big deal here because of the great performances and fun music numbers. Some of the actors in the cast you would never picture to be in a musical. People like Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti and Tom Cruise you wouldn’t think could sing. While Baldwin and Giamatti pretty much only sing to add a little humor into a few songs, Tom Cruise actually has a decent set of pipes. When he belts out a version of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive” you can really believe he’s a rock star. Julianne Hough is perfectly cast here as the lead. She’s got a great singing voice and has stepped up her acting game since we last saw her in Footloose.
Everyone else featured in the movie provides good performances as well. Diego Boneta gives a breakout performance that will certainly have directors and producers wanting him for their movies. Russell Brand has proved he can sing in movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek and here he does another good job. His scenes with Alec Baldwin steal the show as we see their relationship turn into something that might be a little more than friends. Catherne Zeta-Jones is quite funny as one of many housewives who are trying to stop rock music. Mary J. Blige provides some good scenes for the short amount of time she appears in the movie, as does Malin Akerman.
The movie has a great soundtrack featuring songs from bands like Poison, Foreigner, Def Leppard and Journey. All the music numbers are sure to have you tapping your feet and singing along if you know the words. I wasn’t expecting this to be all that funny but was pleasantly surprised when I was laughing almost throughout the whole movie. It’s got a great mixture of comedy and music that I think a musical like this needs.
In the end, the story does kind of get sidetracked from time to time but with great music, good performances and a lot of heart the movie exceeded my expectations.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★