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Rock of Ages
Genre Music
 
Review:

If you always wanted to be a rock star when you grew up, Rock of Ages is your movie. Just like Guitar Hero gave disenchanted closet rock stars the ability to play guitar like a rock god without strumming a single chord, Rock of Ages gives you the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll without having to smash up a hotel, serve time or leave your seat.

Rock of Ages picks up in Los Angeles, 1987 as a small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip in front of the Bourbon Room. As you may have guessed, the story is rife with cliches, effectively blending Coyote Ugly and The Wedding Singer in a setting like Burlesque with the music of Wayne's World, yet it redeems itself with a serious injection of energy and entertainment value. It's difficult to comment on Rock of Ages as a stage adaptation without having seen the original musical, but the film's tag line: "Nothing but a good time." pretty much sums it up.

You could go as far as saying Rock of Ages is an unofficial adaptation of Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the '80s, delivering the same air punch of big hair rock bravado with a big wink. The playlist of '80s rock covers hits from Extreme, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Twisted Sister, Scorpions, Poison, Foreigner and more. It's a funny, entertaining and rollicking roller-coaster of fun with an all-star cast paying homage and lampooning the music simultaneously.

Tom Cruise headlines Rock of Ages in his first musical ever as Stacey Jaxx... quintessential '80s rock star sensation. His four-and-a-half months of voice training pays off and he really gets into character, getting the chance to live out what must have been a childhood fantasy or a scene from Risky Business. While he's the name star, director Adam Shankman (Hairspray) has opted for a similar pairing to Mamma Mia's Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper, in Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough.

These fresh new talents do well with Diego Boneta playing a Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) meets Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Julianne Hough giving Amanda Seyfried a run for her money as "that blonde musical babe" after also appearing in Burlesque. As if Tom Cruise wasn't enough, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman and Mary J. Blige deliver in key supporting roles.

Alec Baldwin will bring back memories of John Travolta in Hairspray, another Shankman musical, as the Bourbon Room's owner. He and Russell Brand have great chemistry as a comic pairing and even share a song at one point. Bryan Cranston and Catherine Zeta-Jones rack up some laughs as mayor and mayor's wife, with a glowing performance from Zeta-Jones. While Malin Akerman turns the heat up as a Rolling Stone journalist, Mary J. Blige gets to play a strip club owner and Paul Giamatti nails another lovable schmuck as the agent without scruples.

There's never a dull moment in this rock musical that entertains with strong performances from a top-notch ensemble, who can all sing and act. There are, however, some speed bumps as things get laugh-out-loud ridiculous, especially as Catherine Zeta-Jones's character tries to bring down the Bourbon Room or when Diego Boneta sells out. Yet, the overall tone smooths over these jarring shifts to deliver heartwarming, feel good vibes and "nothing but a good time" with some of your favourite '80s rock tracks.

Just like The Wedding Singer, Rock of Ages features a fantastic cast, great music, '80s nostalgia, a sweet love story, loads of heart and enough wacky, colourful characters to keep things light, upbeat and full of fun. It's probably not going to win any major awards, but will provide hours and hours of rewatchable popcorn entertainment for those that love it.

The bottom line: Entertaining

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