Monday, June 18, 2012

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages is a Hollywood adaptation of the Tony Award nominated musical from director Adam Shankman, who also brought "Hairspray" to the big screen in 2007.  After several re-writes of the screenplay, delays in filming, and casting issues the final product has found its way to the theaters. The film stars an ensemble cast and features the music of Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Twisted Sister, and REO Speedwagon. 

The story is very simple and follows a small town girl, Sherrie (Julianne Hough) living in a lonely world, and a city boy, Drew (Diego Boneta) from south Detroit, who meet on the Sunset Strip outside of the Bourbon Room.  But their Journey isn't the only one as the Bourbon Room is on the edge of bankruptcy and the club owner, Dennis Dupree (Alex Baldwin) is battling with the mayor (Bryan Cranston) and his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who are attempting to clean up the city by closing the Bourbon Room forever.  The hopes of a big payday to save the Bourbon Room fall on a night with Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) who is battling his own inner demons along with his manager Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti) and sees an honest future with Rolling Stone writer Constance Sack (Malin Ackerman).  

There isn't much in the film that you haven't seen, or heard, before.  If you go see this film it should only be for your love of 80s rock, because beyond the songs the story won't keep you interested.  Many of the songs wind up being mash-ups of each other that don't always transition from the dialogue to the song. 
Having never seen the Broadway musical I can only report on what my friends have told me for similarities and differences.  However, one of the more entertaining moments in the film is a deviation from the musical where Russell Brand (Lonny, manager at the Bourbon room) and Alec Baldwin (Dennis Dupree) share a duet and declare their love.  The shining light on the center stage is Tom Cruise who embodies his character beyond expectations.  However, even the celebrity of Tom Cruise is found in the shadow of the monkey "Hey Man" and the cameo appearances from Eli Roth and TJ Miller. 

The two lead performances from Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta did not have much chemistry, which is frustrating when they are the focal point of the film.  Perhaps they were just there for their pretty faces, but not even the rest of the amazing cast could save this.  The singing wasn't much better than the best person you have heard at a karaoke bar, and the only trained singer in the group was Mary J. Blige who is barely in the film and when she is the focal point for her is the various wigs she is wearing. 
There is no reason to rush out and see this film, but if you do go I suggest you go with a large group of friends and don't be ashamed to shout out and sing during the film.  The film will keep you entertained just enough to make this a 2 Quack film. 

One final note... if Stacee Jaxx (or anyone) asks you to open your mouth, immediatley question them.

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