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ROCK OF AGES – Movie Review

I’m not a big fan of musicals, but I went into Rock of Ages a bit optimistic.  Granted the 80s aren’t my favorite decade, I was still completely on board for a classic rock-based musical.  Unfortunately, while it’s not a complete disaster, it has a lot of problems.

The film is based off of the hit Broadway musical and follows two young lovers living in Los Angeles in the 1980s.  The two work at the Bourbon rock club, which is trying to stay afloat.  They’re also trying to pursue music careers of their own, which tests their relationship.

The biggest takeaway with a movie musical is the obvious: the music.  And I really enjoyed many of the musical numbers throughout the film.  They have good production value and are well performed by the actors.

A lot of the cast really worked here too, namely Tom Cruise.  He plays the legendary rock star Stacee Jaxx, and it’s comedic gold.  He completely embodies him and walks away with every scene he’s in.  Other supporting actors, including Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, and Russell Brand, turn in some very funny work.

On the contrary, the two leads, Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough, can’t really act.  Their deliveries are incredibly stilted, their chemistry feels forced, and it they try to be as expressive as possible, with as little subtlety as possible.

The script is also incredibly lazy, taken into account that it’s a musical.  The characters are clichéd and the storyline is extremely predictable.  Also, a big conflict comes up between the couple halfway through the film, causing a bump in their relationship.  However, while this conflict could be resolved in a conversation, the film decides to dwell on it for the entire second half, making the romance implausible.

A lot of the comedy is forced here as well.  While Cruise and the cast have their moments, there are a lot of hammy one-liners, and they even resort to one of the lowest forms of comedy: a monkey.

Overall, while the music and some of the actors are solid, there are too many problems to fully recommend Rock of Ages, and it will most likely be forgotten in a few months’ time.


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