This Place is About to Become a Sea of Sweat, Ear-Shattering Music and Puke.
My interest was piqued in today’s movie while listening to the Nerdist podcast. Chris Hardwick was talking about this movie because he was in the original LA cast of the musical that this movie was based on. Another thing that drove me to want to see the movie was the ridiculous hotness of some of the actresses in the movie. That’s always a driving factor for me. But it didn’t drive me hard enough to bother to go and see the movie when it was still in theaters. When I was perusing a RedBox, I saw this movie along with the movie I was looking for and decided that I might as well watch it. If nothing else, I would enjoy the hotness and tune out the movie. Did I have to do that? Find out as I review Rock of Ages, based on the musical by Chris D’Arienzo, written for the screen by Justin Theroux and Allan Loeb, directed by Adam Shankman, and starring Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Malin Ákerman, Kevin Nash, Jeff Chase, and Will Forte.
A girl named Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) moves to Los Angeles to become a singer, but realizes pretty quickly that most of LA is a cesspool when her prized record collection gets stolen from her. A barback named Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) rushes to help her and the two later start dating even though this pansy didn’t even try to run the guy with her records down. Maybe it was because he gets her a job as a waitress at The Bourbon Room, a famous rock club that’s fallen on hard financial times. To help their situation, bar owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his right-hand man Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand) book the famous band Arsenal – and their temperamental lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) – to perform their final gig at the club before Jaxx embarks on a solo career. Also going on, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston), is trying to shut down rock and roll, Constance Sack (Malin Ákerman) has sex with Jaxx and writes a scathing review about him in Rolling Stone, and Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti) tries to make a star out of Boley, knowing that Jaxx is unreliable.
I’m admittedly torn about Rock of Ages. I’m about dead center in my feelings for it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I think it was mainly the story that didn’t work for me. It just didn’t strike me as all that funny. And, without the comedy, it’s basically just a run of the mill love story/musical. There’s also a little bit of Empire Records in the people trying to keep their dream of rock and roll alive in the Bourbon Room, and perhaps a little bit of Footloose in the religious crazies trying to shut down something for whatever stupid reason. But I’ve already seen those movies, and I didn’t really like them either. And I think I wanted it to be funny, but it never managed to pull that off. Stacee Jaxx got a few laughs with his wackiness, but he also frequently bordered on depressing. I also always appreciate a good shot at boy bands, but then I get depressed because – let’s face it, rock fans – they’ve kind of won. Sure, they don’t have staying power, but that genre has made far more unworthy millionaires than rock has, at least recently. I think the only thing in the movie that got a good, solid laugh out of me was when Sherrie applied for a job by saying, “I can wait tables! I’m good!” Fer real? That’s what you’re gonna put on your list of special skills. Not writing, sketching, speaks limited French. You’re gonna post up with, “Excellent waitress.” I think there’s about one job that qualifies you for…
One of the things that definitely worked for me in this movie was the music. Gangnamed that’s a good soundtrack! Check out some of these songs: Paradise City, Sister Christian, Juke Box Hero, Wanted Dead or Alive, I Wanna Rock, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Here I Go Again, Any Way You Want It, Rock You Like a Hurricane, We Built This City, Don’t Stop Believin’, and the list goes on. Add some Metallica to that and I could survive on just that soundtrack for the rest of my life. I know everyone’s taste in music is not the same as mine, but if you don’t agree then your opinions are wrong. The reason this movie was so easy to get through even with the mediocrity of the story was because of the kick ass music throughout.
The performances in this movie were fine enough, but I was focused mostly on a different kind of “fine.” Namely Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman. SO hot! Want to touch the heiney! Amongst other things. I guess the same could be said for Catherine Zeta-Jones, but she never really did it for me. Certainly not when I have Hough and Ákerman to distract me. They did fine jobs in the movie, but you also get to see them in underwear and other such skimpies! The only thing that bothered me about that is that there were times in the movie when Hough wore less clothes then when she was acting as a stripper at one point. When she was a stripper, she rocked something that looked like an old-timey one-piece bathing suit that was low cut in the front. She wears much hotter stuff when she’s not supposed to be getting naked for money! Tom Cruise also made me take note fairly frequently. I thought at first that I would be watching him do this part and be mostly thinking about how Chris Hardwick would have done it, even though I’ve never really seen Hardwick do it. But Cruise does an interesting enough performance of his own that I never really got to thinking about that part. But, y’know what? To hell with complimenting Tom Cruise! He got to make out with Malin Ákerman AND touch Julianne Hough and Catherine Zeta-Jones boobs! ALL IN THE SAME MOVIE!
Rock of Ages was an underwhelming but totally watchable movie. Its mediocre story was elevated drastically by the awesome songs in the musical numbers. The actors also did a very good job, especially Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman who did an exceptional job being hot and Tom Cruise who did very well at being interesting to watch. But altogether, this is probably a skippable movie. You can buy the soundtrack without sitting through the movie, and you can see Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman being hot with a Google image search. Rock of Ages gets “It’s not an improvement” out of “I just threw up. In my pants … out of my ass.”
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