Rock Of Ages: "That Stage Is A Pedestal, And When You're Up There, You're Untouchable"

Director: Adam Shankman
Writer:    Justin Theroux
               Chris D'Arienzo
               Allan Loeb
Starring: Julianne Hough
               Diego Boneta
               Russell Brand
               Paul Giamatti
               Catherine Zeta Jones
               Mary J. Blige
               Malin Akerman 
               Alec Baldwin
               Tom Cruise
Rating:    ****

Relese Date: Out Now

Rock of Ages is the glossy film adaption of the hit Broadway musical with the same name. It is fair to say that the cast for the movie is pretty impressive; I mean come on, when you have Catherine Zeta Jones, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige and Tom Cruise (who I do not like) all starring in one film, it is gonna be impressive. Plus, with Adam Shankman (Hairspray - 2007) directing this fabulous cast through sexy dance sequences and 80's rock music, not much can really go wrong. Now I know that critically, this film hasn't been that well received, and I'll be the first to say it does have the occasional issue, but I for one really enjoyed what I saw and for just the smallest amount of time felt like an 80's rockstar myself.

Julianna Hough & Diego Boneta
While there are plenty of stories, and characters and things like that in the film to fulfil your needs, the biggest draw, and indeed the most important aspect of this film is the impressive soundtrack. Opening with a mashup of Sister Christian/Just Like Paradise/Nothin' But A Good Time and of course ending with the recently popular again (thanks Glee), Journey's: Don't Stop Believin'. Each scene is packed with epic anthems and head banging rock songs, belted out by the stellar (and impressively talented) cast.

The story follows a small town girl living in a lonely world, her name is Sherrie (Hough) Her journey takes her to the city of angels where she plans to follow her dream of becoming a singer and performer. When she arrives, and after a spot of mugging, she meets her hero; a city boy named Drew (Boneta), an aspiring rocker whose stage fright is holding him back. He gets Sherrie a job alongside him being a waitress at a grungy rock venue, The Bourbon Room, owned by Baldwin and Brand's homo-erotic and oddly romantic duo, where rock legend Stacee Jaxx (Cruise) is due to perform his first-ever solo gig, a gig that will save the club from closing.

There are so many questions set up right a the very start of the film, most of them cliched and with pretty obvious answers. Things like, will Drew get over his stage fright? Will the club be saved? Will Drew and Sherrie fall in love? Even without seeing the film, you can guess the answers, right?

Alec Baldwin & Russell Brand
There's very little in Rock of Ages' script that doesn't feel predictable; whether it's the romance between Sherrie and Drew, or Catherine Zeta-Jones's antagonist; the wife of the mayor who wants to shut the Bourbon club down for promoting sex drugs and Rock 'N' Roll. The script is very funny despite the fact it's packed full of cliches, the jokes are delivered well and although some of them fall flat, I'm pretty sure you will find something in there to entertain you. The best actor for delivering the laughs is Baldwin, I mean that man can spin comedic gold out of just about anything, while Paul Giamatti is on terrific deadpan form as Cruise's slimy manager.

I guess the thing that most people are going to be watching in for and the actor with the most buzz surrounding them is Mr. Cruise. I can now say (and my god this pains me to say) that he pulls out all of the stops and plays the role with ease and perfection. It actually comes across like he is having fun for once, something audiences have not been getting from Cruise in a very long time (thanks to his ego). Plus he is surprisingly good when it comes to the singing part of the film (no doubt thanks to plenty of vocal training and Mr. autotune), but the fact he doesn't cause your ears to bleed is a bit of a bonus. Plus, the chemistry between him and awkward journalist Malin Akerman is electric and each of their scenes sizzle with confidence and sex. I think for me personally, I am just happy to see him enjoying his performance at last. 

Malin Akerman & Tom Cruise
The most confusing part of the film was the character Justice (Blige), she's a strip club manager who helps Sherrie out in her time of need, fair enough. But when she has no real storyline, but keeps popping up in random songs and crying when they have no connection with her; well it gets confusing. I can only assume her part was majorly cut down. Either which way, I love Mary J. Blige, so I wasn't that fussed.

For the few things that are wrong with Shankman's campfest, there are more than enough things that make up for it.The film is one big glossy love letter to the 80's, and the cast and crew know this. Nobody takes the film to seriously, and each and every person is clearly just having fun and enjoying the experience, and because of this us, the audience, have fun to. Don't go to see the film if you are expecting to have a life changing experience; go to have fun, enjoy good music and lose yourself in the grungy 80's culture. One think I can guarantee about this film, is that you will have a wickedly good time, and the soundtrack will be rocking in your head for weeks to follow.

Rock of Ages - Trailer