Saturday, 16 June 2012

Rock Of Ages

Rating: ★★

If you love rock and roll... then maybe don't watch Rock Of Ages. But if you love Hairspray, Glee and Smash, then Rock Of Ages is your best shot.

Nothin' But a Good Time
If you asked me to sum up the plot of Rock Of Ages I wouldn't be able to. That is because it didn't really have a coherent storyline. It was more like a series of events following many different characters connected by a rock club on the Sunset Strip called The Bourbon Club. A story like this makes it clear that it is just a vehicle for the songs. But Rock Of Ages was a stage show first so the film is not to blame for the messy plot.

Everyone has been buzzing about how Tom Cruise plays a Mick Jagger-style rock god called Stacee Jaxx. I personally thought he did an excellent job. It was something completely different to Tom's normal roles. That's for sure. 

Put Some Sugar On Me
Some people have complained that Rock Of Ages had given the 80s rock scene a very sickly sweet, clean cut makeover to ensure that the film got a 12a rating. After seeing the remake of Footloose suffer this fate I was expecting the same of Rock Of Ages. But even though the music has been given a more universal, pop sound the film on a whole still has a lot of raunchy, dirty scenes. For example when Tom Cruise sings pretty much the whole of I Wanna Know What Love Is to Malin Akerman's vagina.

The main story line was a traditional love-at-first-sight romance, here between Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough's characters. Most of their scenes were unbelievably cheesy but they also had a strong 80s vibe which redeemed them a little.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn
When Mary J. Blige started to sing I nearly started crying, it was just that beautiful. But you will never see a film with a more pointless character. Somewhere midway through the story she helps Julianne by giving her a job, she sings about being sad but the audience never properly find out why she's so sad and then she just disappears. But her voice does steal the show.

Cathrine Zeta-Jones plays the villainous mayor's wife, who is out to ruin Stacee Jaxx. She gives a very over-the-top performance but it suited the style of the film and was surprisingly effective in that context.

Rock of Ages was also surprisingly funny and had the audience in stitches more than once. My favourite gag came when Julianne's character told Stacee Jaxx just how much his music had meant to her growing up — especially after her hamster had died!

Any Way You Want It
I have to say that I like good old-fashioned musicals - Hairspray (also by director Adam Shankman) is the most recent example I can think of — and there haven't been nearly enough of them. Even though Rock Of Ages isn't quite what I mean, it's very close. But that said, I would love to see a musical where the music aids the story, not the other way around. I'm expecting to have more luck with Les Miserables on that score.

Put under a microscope these films never fare very well, because they are by necessity pretty cheesy but if you love musicals, romance and well... life, you'll enjoy this movie. And I have to admit that I for one thoroughly enjoyed Rock of Ages, and at the end I wasn't the only person singing and dancing along.

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