Rock Of Ages 12A
Boasting the obligatory spandex-anthems of the 80s, this Broadway adaptation is overlong but sporadically fun. Said fun mostly comes via the star power of Tom Cruise, while Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin are also highlights in a production that could’ve easily been twenty minutes shorter. The clichéd core story merely gets in the way of an otherwise energetic flick.
Someone, somewhere (possibly Ryan Seacrest) has decided that Julianne Hough is now the hottest shit in town. Here she plays a small town girl, living in a lonely world who takes a midnight train to… you catch my drift. Landing in LA she meets the wide-eyed enthusiasm of bar-back, wannabe rock star Diego Boneta and promptly falls in love; sort of like an unstoppable force of naivety hitting an immovable object of stupidity. While those two are making puppy dog eyes at each other, the iconic venue The Bourbon Room (owned by Baldwin and ran by Brand) prepares itself for a huge gig from Axel Rose like rocker Stacey Jaxx (Cruise, bearing a distractingly toned navel for a man in his late 40s).
If Rock of Ages commits one crime said crime is excess. Had Cruise’s obvious, tried and tested charisma been used more sparingly, then it would’ve given viewers something to look forward to - like his extended cameo in Tropic Thunder. Instead, it’s more of a supporting role, and after enough screentime the impact lessons somewhat. That said, he’s still admirably game to belt out tunes and oozes the type of frontman charisma that director Shankman needed.
It was always going to be tough transferring the buzz of the stage production to the big screen, but Shankman had done it before with the enjoyable Hairspray. While his leads here are fine, some supporting characters needed to end up on the cutting room floor - Mary J Blige playing a former stripper farting pearls of wisdom should have been the first. Despite its many flaws, Rock of Ages is still a hard film not to like; by the time Brand and Baldwin go Brokeback you should already be on-board with the tonal lunacy.
Very silly, way too long, but also colourful and full of an infectious energy.
Story by Mike Sheridan | 12:21 | Monday 8th October 2012 | DVD review