Crock of ages
AS A hit stage musical, Rock of Ages had audiences in a state of fist- pumping, air- guitaring nirvana from the get- go.
As a major motion picture, Rock of Ages won’t have many onlookers holding a lighter aloft in tribute.
A garish glitter bomb packed tight with equal amounts of brashness and blandness, ROA is DOA once the novelty of its stunt casting of Tom Cruise as a louche rock god wears off.
This is not to knock Cruise’s portrayal of the movie’s tent- pole character Stacee Jaxx, because it is by far and away the best thing happening here.
However, one break- out performance is not enough to save Rock of Ages from bringing on medium levels of tedium in most scenes.
The screenplay hews closely to the stage version, serving up a drab little love story between a pair of small- timers impatiently waiting for their shot at the big time.
Sherrie ( Julianne Hough) and Drew ( Diego Boneta) work nights at The Bourbon Room, the hottest music club in 1987 Los Angeles.
She can sing a power ballad like there’s no tomorrow. He can belt out an anthem with the best of them. But both must first pay their dues.
Until then, they’ll draw a paycheck from The Bourbon Room’s veteran rockdog owner Dennis Dupree ( Alec Baldwin).
Truth be told, the venue isn’t doing too well. The bills and the tax demands are piling up, and the local mayor’s wife ( Catherine Zeta- Jones) is leading a crusade to get the notorious joint shut on moral grounds.
As Dennis informs his right- hand man, the British talent booker Lonny ( Russell Brand), it is make- or- break time. If Stacee Jaxx doesn’t come and play a promised show, it will be last drinks for The Bourbon Room.
It must be said Cruise makes quite an entrance as Stacee, rising from beneath a pile of groupies and whiskey bottles to survey yet another wasted hotel room.
Cruise plays the role as a rather out- there combo of Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose and Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now.
The dude talks in unanswerable riddles, and seems perpetually on the brink of either throwing up or downing another drink.
It must also be said that Cruise handles his singing duties very capably indeed, with a pro- level take on Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead
or Alive being the absolute standout. Elsewhere in Rock of Ages, the all- important song factor is markedly inconsistent.
Classic ’ 80s numbers played primarily for laughs – such as a Baldwin and Brand duet on REO Speedwagon’s I Can’t Fight
This Feeling – fare the best. Soft- rock standards sung semi- seriously by the dull pairing of Hough and Boneto will have you scrambling for the off button in the car radio of your mind.