Film Review: Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough Have Fun in ‘Rock of Ages’

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CHICAGO – Although the jukebox musical needs an available pasture to be put out onto, the new film “Rock of Ages” – based on the Broadway stage play – improves on that genre by having a little fun and lots of tongue-in-cheek. Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand rock the cashbox. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Although displaying some very soft moments, the overall effect of the film musical is nostalgia – it’s loaded with 1980s hair band jukebox hits – and seeing familiar stars done up as rockers or uptight anti-rock protesters. Tom Cruise is a stand-out, portraying the pop god Stacee Jaxx as a blissed out, be-wigged burn out. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, although making an unlikely movie team, manage also to provide some comic relief. Director Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”) keeps the musical in motion, and uses an expansive scenic atmosphere to enliven a standard rock and roll adventure.

The year is 1987, and small town girl Sherrie (Julianne Hough) arrives in Los Angeles to make her way in the music business. She runs into Drew (Diego Boneta), a busboy at an legendary rock club on the Sunset Strip called The Bourbon Room. The club is owned by Dennis (Alec Baldwin), who keeps his floor manager Lonny (Russell Brand) close at hand. They are anticipating that rocker Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) will play the club one last time with his band Arsenal, and Dennis will be able to pay off a big tax bill.

It’s also a campaign year, and Los Angeles Mayor Whitman (Bryan Cranston) decides to make the decadence of The Bourbon Room a campaign issue, spurred by his uptight wife Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones). They want to close it, and gather protesters outside the venue. In the meantime, Stacee Jaxx is verbally wrestling with a Rolling Stone magazine interviewer named Constance (Malin Ackerman) and Drew is trying to fend off Jaxx’s manager Paul (Paul Giamatti), who wants to change his image from rock to boy band. Will anyone get to the concert on time?

“Rock of Ages” opens everywhere June 15th. Featuring Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston, Malin Ackerman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Paul Giamatti. Screenplay by Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo and Alan Loeb. Directed by Adam Shankman. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Rock of Ages”

Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand’
Alec Baldwin (Dennis) and Russell Brand (Lonny) in ‘Rock of Ages’
Photo credit: David James for Warner Bros. Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Rock of Ages”

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