Film Review: ROCK OF AGES

Director: Adam Shankman
Writers: Justin Theroux (screenplay), Chris D’Arienzo (screenplay) (musical book), Allan Loeb(screenplay),
Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston.

ROCK OF AGES is the sort of film that knows exactly what it is: an enjoyable, if ridiculous, homage to the eighties. When Sherrie (Julianne Hough) comes to Hollywood in 1987 with dreams of making it as a singer, she meets aspiring musician Drew (Diego Boneta) and lands a job at the iconic (and struggling) rock bar, The Bourbon. As the two develop a relationship, a chance for fame arrives for one of them during the final show of the slightly insane, yet famed rock legend Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise). Alongside the hardships of Sherrie, Drew, and Stacee Jaxx, rock itself is fighting to survive on the strip under the assault of a crusading mayor and his church-going wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The musical from director Adam Shankman features mash-ups of various 80’s classics including Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, Twisted Sister, and Pat Benetar among others.

The storylines may be familiar to many of us and fairly predictable—a relationship rife with misunderstandings, the trials of fame, and the tortured rock icon—but the film is extremely entertaining nonetheless. Tom Cruise in particular is hilarious as the weary, womanizing, and insane rock legend that seduces his Rolling Stones reporter and is followed around by a pet liquor-fetching baboon. The likeable leads, Hough and Bonata, are just earnest enough to pull off the role of naïve rock star hopefuls alongside the other jaded characters. It’s a feel good film made better by an impressive cast that never makes fun of their roles, even when they are obviously relishing in the parts they play.

The eighties hit mash-ups are catchy and the actors all are surprisingly good singers. While there are classics that are arguably missing, the ones included all serve to emphasize the overall progression of the film and seem cohesive in the narrative progression. The two-hour runtime seems long in some parts as we filter through the various characters in their own storylines, but never to the point of losing interest. Sure the film has its flaws like the predictable storylines, but it’s an awesome tribute to eighties rock that will likely have a few people singing along in theater and even more when it’s released on DVD. If you can surrender to the outlandish fun of it, it is definitely worth checking out.

Kristen Micek