Don’t see “Rock of Ages” for the hackneyed plot lines of small-town girl moves to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune, boy meets girl hoping for a love story, and a boozing rocker who seems off his rocker comes to his senses.
See it for the foot-tapping, pulsating 1980s music and choreography. It’s a good, silly musical that all four of us enjoyed on Father’s Day. If you’re like me, you’ll leave the theater singing “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” (while embarrassing the youngsters, who won’t be walking anywhere near you).
There’s a lot going on in the film. First up is Sherrie (Julianne Hough), who moves to L.A. from Tulsa to become a singer. She meets Drew (Diego Boneta), a songwriter who works at a nightclub while hoping for his band to get noticed. Cue the music: There are love songs on the horizon!
Then there’s the Bourbon Room where Drew works. It’s in financial trouble, as owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin . . . I didn’t know Mr. Conductor could sing) and his right-hand man Lonny (Russell Brand) try to keep it afloat. Baldwin and Brand were wonderful together (when you could understand Brand).
Meanwhile, the mayor’s wife leads a group of adults wanting to silence that evil rock ’n roll. Catherine Zeta-Jones is superb as Patricia Whitmore—she and her fellow protestors did a great job with “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
Finally, there’s rock star Stacee Jaxx, the role that might one day define Tom Cruise. Jaxx is an odd duck swimming in bizarre waters. Cruise isn’t the most-powerful singer, but he gets the job done and is very believable in the role.
Also lending their considerable talents to the movie are Mary J. Blige (a lovely singer) and Paul Giamatti as Jaxx’s slime-ball agent.
Because I believe the best music ever produced was from 1964 (especially the British invasion) through 1975 (my sons’ opinions to the contrary), I wondered how much I’d enjoy the film. I only knew a handful of the songs. But I ended up liking most of the tunes (had to laugh at how “Can’t Fight This Feeling” was used). I’ll bet this was a fun flick to film.
Plus I love musicals. They may be campy. They may be too long. But I just can’t stop believin’!
Note: Even though this is rated PG-13, it’s definitely not for the younger teenagers.