I am not a fan of Tom Cruise. I am a fan of musicals. The two combined this week in Rock of Ages and as it transpired that I love musicals more than I dislike Tom Cruise I was there on opening day in an empty cinema.
PLOT: In 1987 Sherrie, (Julianne Hough) a girl who deems it complimentary when told that she smells of wine and cheap perfume, moves from Oklahoma to LA and falls in love with Drew (Diego Boneta). The two work in The Bourbon Room, a rock bar which is preparing for Arsenal’s final performance. The problem is their lead singer, Stacee Jaxx, (Tom Cruise) is completely unreliable. Will Stacee Jaxx play the gig? Will the young couple stay together forever? Will Russell Brand get too much screen time? END PLOT
The plot of Rock of Ages is not complex. It is a musical so it doesn’t need to be as it can rely on the songs and set pieces to get by – let’s be honest the plot of Grease is as thin as it gets.
Rock of Ages has a running time of two hours which is just too long. The love story between Sherrie and Drew causes the film to lag and I don’t think I could decide whether it was the monkey or Russell Brand who was the least amusing aspect of the film. The plot was weak and the length of the film served only to highlight this.
Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta are capable leads even though they look and sound like they have been genetically created by the Disney Channel.
Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand get far too much screen time and they have forever ruined REO Speedwagon. There were some comical moments from the pair but most of the humour, especially from Brand, missed the mark by some way.
Is it law that Brian Cranston must have a small role in every film? If ever there was a character that served no purpose in Rock of Ages it would the Mayor. The Mayor’s wife is a different story altogether as Catherine Zeta Jones was typically fantastic.
My dislike for Tom Cruise is well known but no matter how hard I try I cannot fault his performance. Cruise was great fun as Stacee Jaxx and brought appropriate levels of swagger to the role – his singing wasn’t bad either. The success of the film rides on his performance and luckily for all involved he pulled it off.
The musical numbers were big, loud and for the most part well executed. There were some nice mash-ups which include “We’re not going to take it/We Built This City” and “Juke Box Hero/I Love Rock n Roll” as well as some decent covers of well known rock songs. I was fortunate enough to know the originals before hand so I enjoyed the Glee-esque reworking of the classics. There are a couple that will make it into my I-pod but the vast majority wont.
If Rock of Ages ever comes to Belfast I will be there in flash as I can see why it would work as a musical show. The transference to the big screen just falls short and I blame this mostly on the length…… and the monkey.
Rock of Ages gets 7.5/10. If the bluray comes with a self editing feature and I could delete Brand/Baldwin, the love storyline and the monkey...... or I will just watch the sing-along version.