TMP Review: Rock of Ages

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The Set-Up

Director: Adam Shenkman

Writers: Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb

Starring:  Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin & Russel Brand

Based on a hit theater musical, ‘Rock of Ages’ follows a small town girl from Oklahoma as she moves to Hollywood in search of osmething better in life whether it’s love or stardom.  However, as she hits the Sunset Strip she quickly learns the life of an aspiring singer is not all glits and glam.

 

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The Good

What was the absolute best element of ‘Rock of Ages’?  The soundtrack, of course!  There were so many great ’80s hits that one might almost be tempted to tease their hair and break out the leg warmers.  I did say almost!  When coupled with the club scene, lighting, and costumers, the atmosphere was nothing short of a rocking good time.  There has to be a hint of respect for a film that makes fun of when the “boy band” movement went into full swing.

One person that really surprised me in regards to their overall level of performance was Tom Cruise.  I was skeptical when viewing the trailers.  Long hair and leather pants are not something one is use to seeing on ‘Jerry Maguire’!  Although part of me still thinks he looked ridiculous, let me be the first to say that Cruise did sing his assigned songs, and it was like he channeled the spirit of Bon Jovi on downers.  In other words, he owned his rock star role.

It’s just too bad that the baboon out-staged them all!  In spite of Russell Brand’s funny little moments of comic relief, the award for best comedian of the show goes to ‘Hey Man’ the pet primate of Stacee Jaxx.  It is my firm suspicion that this crazy animal was an even bigger flirt than the musicians.

 

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The Bad

Before I delve into the not so positive aspects of my review, let me just say one thing.  I love musicals, but not just any musical.  There is a difference, believe it or not.

With that being said, ‘Rock of Ages’ had something going against it from the opening scene.  There was too much music, and not enough dialogue or storyline.  Not to say that the music was not absolutely fabulous, because it certainly was a crowd pleaser.  However, there is a difference between a musical and the writers sticking in a sing-song moment randomly because they just do not know what else to write.  The whole plot was completely predictable, and a Jr. High English student could have jotted down a better script.

Furthermore, the PG-13 rating seemed to be a big joke.  One could see how they pulled that one off because no one was stripped down beyond their underwear.  It’s even understandable that the goal was to keep to the whole “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” quality of the time.  However, there were so many unnecessary, and cheesy, sexual references and behaviors that parents should just use their best judgment before taking their age 13 and under child for a viewing.

There were many well-known names in the casting of this hit musical, but it pains me to say that the film had poor casting.  It’s unclear whether to blame the actress or the choreographer, but Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was brilliant in ‘Chicago’, just seemed disjointed and unnatural in her movements.  Julianne Hough may be a great dancer, but in this film she seemed more like blond ’80s Barbie who can occasionally hit a good note or two.  Someone should seriously tell her to stick to dancing.

 

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The Complete Package

Due to the overall lack in originality of the film as a whole and not enough dialogue, it was a boring day at the movies.  Even the great soundtrack, and Tom Cruise’s stellar performance, did not do much to give it a much needed boost.  If I wanted to just be serenaded with great hits from that decade, I could just as easily visit iTunes.  Therefore, just in case there are viewers out there wishing for an opinion, my recommendation would be to wait for it to come out on Redbox.

 

Rating: 2 out of 5

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