Rock of Ages
A lazy cross between a gritty rock musical and a Disney fairy tale, this moderately successful stage show flops on the big screen.
June 16, 2012 12:52 pmKaitlin McManus
Joan Jett loves rock and roll. So do I, or at least I did. As of today, I officially renounce the genre. Journey, Bon Jovi, Guns ‘N Roses, Pat Benatar, and so many others are currently being systematically deleted from my music library. Folks, the facts of the case are these: rock is dead. I found it pale and cold in a puddle of its own blood, and Rock of Ages was standing over it with a knife. This movie is responsible for the death of music; not dubstep, not Justin Beiber. Rock of Ages.
Julianne Hough (most famous for pretending to be famous in Proactiv commercials) plays Sherrie, a small town girl living in a lonely world. She took a midnight bus going to Hollywood, meets wannabe rocker Drew (Diego Boneta) and he magically gets her a job at the most famous bar/club in Los Angeles, The Bourbon Room. The club is managed by Alec Baldwin, a washed up rocker dude and Russell Brand a drunk, less washed up rocker dude. The Bourbon Room is failing financially and the mayor’s wife Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is ready to tear it down to “save the children from heavy metal” or something. And, just when all seems hopeless, the most successful rocker in history (and consequentially Sherrie’s favorite artist) is coming to The Bourbon for his band’s last show before his solo career. Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), a bratty, oversexed rock star causes more havoc than good, of course, and throughout the course of the night Sherrie and Drew go their separate ways. Drew joins a boy band, and Sherrie becomes a stripper. And then the power of rock and roll brings them back together and everyone sings “Don’t Stop Believin’” in a big stadium and lives happily ever after. It’s already cheesy and I could easily let that go, but the whole show is so confused, from time period to cast, even the general feel of the movie.
I think this movie was supposed to take place in the eighties, but everything looked so modern. None of the costumes reflected a time, just a music genre or profession (we get it – the ones wearing the ripped shirts are the rockers, and the ones in the fishnets and cheap earrings are strippers). The costuming was so stereotypical in that way, and too over the top, like you needed one neon sign pointing out the Bourbon and another to separate its patrons from the conservative Christian protestors. The costumes, the speech, the locations – everything felt too modern. This affected the overall vibe of the movie. There is a pretty clear message of “just believe, and rock, and everything will turn out great,” but it takes all of the grit out of rock. All the sex and drugs, if you will. A reporter and Jaxx supposedly have sex twice and fall in love, but unless they dry-humped their way to love with clothes on, I don’t know how it happened. The strippers in Sherrie’s club looked downright modest. So no sex. Drugs: there were none, unless you count alcohol. And that was used more as a joke than as an actual vice that people have. Russell Brand was half-passed out over a toilet with a bottle of vodka and Drew just smiled at him and ran off for his date. It was clear they tried to keep some of the “hardcore” of rock, but it got lost in the silliness of the film interpretation.
And for cast? Oh boy, here we go. I can’t tell you why a girl with the voice of Aqua (“Barbie Girl”) was cast as the lead in anything, but she was. Not to mention that Hough was originally, and still is, a dancer. She didn’t dance throughout the movie. There was choreography (terrible choreography, but it was there), and she did nothing. That’s the fault of the director, I’m sure – why wouldn’t you use that sort of skill if it were available? Anyway, Boneta had a hard time looking straight, but his voice and acting were fine. Tom Cruise was the most confusing person in this movie. I can’t tell if he did excellently and portrayed the character perfectly, or he was way overacting. It’s one of the two. But I do know two things. One, that his singing was surprisingly phenomenal. And two, that it was his idea to have a baboon, of which there is no precedent in the show, only reminding me that Cruise is a crazy bastard and I have no idea what to make of him. The true stars of this movie, however, were Alec Baldwin and especially Russell Brand (hereon referred to only as “Brandwin”). Brandwin is my new power couple. Yes, couple. The best part of this whole movie is when they sing “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon to each other. The internet has yet to blow up with them as the best couple in movie’s history, but I plan to lead the crusade. Brandwin forever.
Unless you are really, and I mean really confident in your music genre of choice, I would not recommend seeing this train wreck. The singing is, for the most part, terrible, the acting is confusing, and the plot is cheesy. It’s tacky. And not fun-tacky. Just tacky. If that still doesn’t convince you to spend your money elsewhere, think of this: Tom Cruise in assless chaps and a bedazzled Satan codpiece. Trust me, you don’t want to see that. Save your retinas, your cochleae, and your wallets.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING||2.0|