Despite what you think about rock music and it’s current place in history, rock is not dead. Wait until June 15, 2012 to make that declaration. That’s the day that ROCK OF AGES makes it theatrical debut and performs that type of audible assault that if it caused physical harm, surely, someone would serve time for it. I’m not even a rock music purist, and most of the songs played in the film I’ve never really liked all that much, but simply put, this could have simply been called KARAOKE: THE MOVIE and at least it would have set up audience members with the proper expectations, whether those expectations are high or low.
When Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) boards a bus from Oklahoma to Los Angeles with dreams of making it big as a singer, she is swiftly met by a mugger outside the famous Bourbon Room. With no place left to go, she’s befriended by Drew (Diego Boneta), a barback at the aforementioned Bourbon Room, which has launched the career of many a famous rock star including Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise). The club is owned by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin), and managed by his loyal friend Lonny (Russell Brand). Managing a famous club though isn’t as easy as it sounds though. Mayoral candidate Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston) and his Cruella Deville-like wife Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) have it in for the club and specifically, the hedonistic and out-of-touch Jaxx.
Rock follows a lot of the familiar beats that could be easily predicted in a story like this. Try and guess what the final song is you won’t stop believing how easy it is to guess. It’s not to say that the film fails on every level, that distinction goes to the other release this week That’s My Boy, but that’s another story for another day. Russell Brand is remarkably funny, as he tends to consistently be. Tom Cruise turns in a fascinatingly funny performance as well. All of the moments that work, work pretty well actually, but then the singing resumes and you can’t help but roll your eyes for yet another awful song.
As great as the supporting cast is, the leads don’t perform very strongly. Sure Julianne Hough is beautiful and has a decent singing voice, but when she speaks most of the time the acting is terrible. Same goes for Diego Boneta, who is just not believable at all as a “rock star”. Still though, you might never be this disappointed in a cast this talented in a long time. Rock of Ages definitely has an audience. Glee has become a successful phenomenon for a reason. The audience this film was made for will find lots of joy here, and for the rest of the people seeing this, well at least you’re not watching That’s My Boy.