Film review: Rock of AgesBy James Watkins
October 17, 2012
WITH the gargantuan worldwide success of a musical comes the inevitable silver screen adaptation.
Set in 1987, Rock of Ages sees young and innocent Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) come to Hollywood to fulfil her dream as a singer, but instantly realises it is not all glitz and glamour as her beloved records are snatched from her hands.
Luckily, she is approached by wannabe rock star Drew Bole (Diego Boneta), who gets her a job at the infamous nightclub where he works, The Bourbon Room.
As it is one of the most successful musicals in years, the film version has inevitably attracted a stella cast. Tom Cruise is the headline act, playing Stacee Jaxx, the biggest name in rock and Drew’s idol.
In the support slots are: Alec Baldwin, the nightclub’s owner, Dennis Dupree; Russell Brand, the nightclub’s manager, Lonny; and Catherine Zeta Jones, the mayor’s wife, Patricia Whitmore, who has a vendetta against Jaxx and is on a mission to shut The Bourbon Room down.
Despite this talent, the film hits a few bum notes. The soundtrack on paper is full of the all time great guilty pleasures in rock.
Unfortunately, they are sung by actors who clearly lack raw rock-and-roll passion and are not natural music performers.
It is as fun as watching someone else play the videogame Rock Hero; the players are clearly enjoying themselves, but the audience has to endure the lacklustre cover versions.
For years musicians have poorly carried off trying to act in their music videos.
Rock of Ages twists that scenario on its head, and in places is equally as cringeworthy. At one point Dupree demands that Bole’s band plays only three songs and no covers – if only the director enforced the same rule.
There are a few laughs, but these are mainly in the wrong places – Russell Brand’s bizarre and misjudged Birmingham accent being the main culprit.
The script is predictable and unimaginative, which is not a surprise. It is mainly full of song titles or lines from famous verses in order to set up the next outburst of song.
The film is shameless and mostly harmless, but even if you’re not into camp, hair-metal rock of the 80s, Rock of Ages should have been a lot more fun.