Director: Adam Shankman (Hairspray)
Screenplay: Justin Theroux (Iron Man 2), Chris D’Arienzo (Barry Munday), Allan Loeb (Just Go with It)
Cast: Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise (Top Gun)
Runtime: 123 min.
"This place is about to become a sea of sweat, ear-shattering music and puke." Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin)
It's hard to forget the 80's' Axl Rose with his ever present booze and groupies, but it will be easy to forget Tom' Cruise's Stacie Jaxx, a one note, fuzzy headed rock and roll icon, just cruising like Cruise himself on his fame and slowly fighting the demons of aging and declining gifts. Carrying a bottle of Scotch as Slash of Guns and Roses did, however, he embodies carefree and careless rock n' roll.
Rock of Ages, based on the 2009 Broadway hit, is set in 1987 with a host of songs like Don't Stop Believin' and Every Rose Has Its Thorn that immediately set the nostalgic stage.
However it has stars who can't seem to pull it out of mediocrity. Alec Baldwin as manager Dennis Dupree of the Bourbon Room (based on the infamous Whisky a Go-Go where metal, punk, and new wave found a home) has a scruffy wig and face but little of the actor's celebrated sardonic delivery. Russell Brand as cohort Lonny is besotted and boisterous much as Brand was in Get Him to the Greek.
Catherine Zeta-Jones as the stiff-necked, straight-laced Patricia Whitmore, wife of LA mayor (Bryan Cranston), doesn't come near the musical talent she showed in Chicago. Yet, in her zeal to "take Satan off the streets," she perfectly gets Tipper Gore's self-righteousness.
The musical, probably a farce meant to be a mash-up of music videos, is plain trite as in boy meets girl, you know the rest of the cliché. Leads Julianne Hough as Sherrie and Diego Boneta as Drew can sing well but are hampered by a plot so derivative that it all seems like a big act of plagiarism.
However, the film captures a whole generation of rockers in the spirit of Tower Records' employees famously posting this R.E.M. lyric upon the demise of their iconic store:
"The end of the world as we know it."