Musicals are supposed to be hokey, right?
Rock of Ages is hokey. But I went in knowing that it would be, so I prepared myself accordingly. I can’t say that I wasn’t entertained by the film or that there weren’t moments that were heartwarming and/or made me smile.
So here are a few thoughts, bullet style.
- The movie has very little to do with Tom Cruise, but when it does focus on him, he plays the Axl Rose-esque role very well. But really, how hard can it be to act like a drunk, womanizing, hair band singer? His overtly sexual rendition of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is like “WOAH” over the top.
- This is not a kid-friendly musical by any stretch of the imagination. The jokes and themes aren’t subtle. SEX, SEX, SEX permeates the movie throughout.
- Julianne Hough: good on the eyes, mediocre at best on everything else.
- The male lead, whose name I am not taking the time to Google, was on a few episodes of Pretty Little Liars. I guess some people do make it on to bigger and brighter things when they leave ABC Family.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones steals her fair share of scenes in a relatively minor role, but if you expect Bryan Cranston to live up to his Breaking Bad abilities, you will be saddened.
- Look for cameos from former hair-metal superstars throughout. They aren’t overly recognizable, but they are there. I spotted about three or four.
- I honestly think about half of the songs have been performed by the Glee gang at some point, and I only watched the first two seasons of the show, so that could be a vast underestimate.
- There’s a monkey. He made me laugh more than Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand combined, which is very disappointing.
- This will never be the new Grease or anything like that, but it will be a mainstay on TBS and TNT for years to come.
- If you get goobed out during the first scene, leave. It won’t get any better.
- The corner where everything happens looks like the set of Dick Tracy had it survived until 1987. Very cartoonish, obviously a lot of CGI, but it’s kind of cool.
- Paul Giamatti. Dude’s awesome. If he and Philip Seymour Hoffman were the only two actors left on this planet, I’d be very content. They are both so versatile. Unfortunately only Giamatti is in Rock and again, in a minor-ish role.
- Mary J. Blige? Yep, she’s in it. Would’ve been A-OK had she not been and they cut her scenes out making the movie a clean hour and 45 minutes versus a rather long 2 hours and 5 minutes.
If you decide to go see it, do the following things:
1) Lower your expectations. You will be pleasantly surprised with what you see.
2) Have a drink or two before you go.
3) See it during non-peak hours to avoid crowds. This goes for all movies. It just makes the experience a little better.
4) Make an 80’s playlist to listen to on the way there. It will be really fun on the way home.
To sum it up, the story follows the lives of Hough and the guy whose name I wouldn’t Google. I didn’t think that was the case going in, but with all the other scene stealers in this movie, it would have been hard for those two not to be the focus. The other actors and actresses had to play supporting roles or the movie couldn’t have worked. It’s a classic boy meets girl, boy chases girl movie, but the sub-par plotline and acting are made up for by the great musical scenes, Tom Cruise, and Cruise’s monkey.
Not a life changer by any means, but a decent flick nonetheless. Glad I got in free, would’ve waited for RedBox otherwise. If you like 80’s metal, love stories, musicals, Tom Cruise, or any combination of those, this is your cup of tea. If not, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Overall grade: B- is what my heart tells me. C+ is what my critical mind says.