Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review 106: "Rock of Ages"

Is the movie musical dead?
Probably not, but Rock of Ages sure crippled it.

    Rock of Ages follows young Sherrie (Julianne Hough), who comes to Hollywood looking to become famous. She soon finds her way to the famed, but aging Bourbon Room, where rock legends came to play. She meets bartender Drew (Diego Boneta), who she falls in love with. One fateful night however, bar owners Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russel Brand) manage to get rock legend Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) to come and play. Drew stars as the opening act and gets an offer from manager Paul (Paul Giamatti). The wild night leads to the break-up of Sherrie and Drew, the bar becoming pursued by activists led by Patrica Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a reporter (Malin Akerman) falling for Stacee, Sherrie working in a strip club run by Justice (Mary J. Bilge) and the fate of rock and roll left in the balance.
    If that seems like a mouthful, especially for a musical, then you are smarter than the writers of this movie. At just over 2 hours long, Rock of Ages is one of the most excruciatingly bad film experiences I've had all year. I really have nothing good to say about this "musical", other than I wish I had my 2 hours back.

It's a tad bit overblown.
    As a whole, the movie fails miserably as both a film and as a musical. The thing with Rock of Ages is that it's a "Jukebox Musical", meaning that all of the movie's songs are covers of classic songs that have been around for years. The ultimate problem with this is that the songs all tend to have their own well-know meaning or purpose, therefore in order to fit them into the film, the writers have to bend over backwards to have the meaning of the film fit the songs and not vice versa. The lengths the film has to go through in order to get Tom Cruise's cover of "Wanted Dead or Alive" to fit with the narrative is almost absurd.
    This also leads to the problem that the characters are a bland and hallow as those disgusting cereal straws. They all have stereotypical personalities of the genre that are so obvious that the are even listed on the film's posters. Sherrie's the "the Dreamer", Jaxx is "the Legend", Justice is "the Diva" and they're all equally bland. Most of the actors are phoning in their performances and other are just awful, with only Cruise doing a solid job as the cliched rock god and Giamatti as the villain, though Giamatti is good in everything. There wasn't a single point in the movie that I can remember actually caring about what happened to the characters or the bar or whatever. And when it lasts for 2 hours, it's damn near insufferable.
    The music is also pretty crappy too. Cruise, despite turning in a good performance and being top billed and everything is a pretty lackluster singer and most of the other actors that aren't professional singers are just decent. Only Akerman surprised me with her good singing. The numbers themselves are bland and lifeless. The film acts like it's a big party, but it's more that one party for that weird kid down the street. Nobody wants to go, but they get reward for being there. And that's all Rock of Ages is. In it for the money.

Julianne Hough spend a large amount
of time without pants on.
So there's that.
    Rock of Ages is painful to watch. The novelty of watching what essentially amounts to big-budget celebrity karaoke is almost insufferably boring, with some of the worst characters put to film in a while, backed by lackluster performances and some terrible musical numbers. Rock of Ages is a film that makes you reconsider your life choices, makes you want to change them, give up hopelessly, and resolve to not let the movie win and take back your life. And at 2 hours long, I did that about 5 times. Rock of Ages gets 1 and a half stars out of 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment