Rock of Ages
Cast: Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti,
Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta Jones,
Director: Adam Shankman
Grab your mates, your best bogan moves and a bit of air guitar, the cinematic version of highly successful stage musical Rock of Ages is hitting the big screen.
It's 1987 and the Sunset strip, Los Angeles in Hollywood - enter Julianne Hough's small town girl, Sherrie Christian, fresh off the bus and hoping to find her dreams. But within seconds of stepping off the bus, she's been robbed of her most vital possessions - her rock records.
Enter Diego Boneta's Drew, a bartender at famous rock joint, The Bourbon Club (run by Alec Baldwin's Dennis Dupree), who comes to her aid and falls instantly in love with the fresh face.
But there's a storm brewing - and not just for the two lovers.
A new mayor's (a barely there Bryan Cranston) trying to get into power and the main thrust of his campaign, run by his wife, the evangelical Patricia Whitmore (a perma-bronzed Catherine Zeta Jones), is to get rid of the Bourbon club and sweep all of its rock'n'roll depravity into the confines of history.
If you're after plot and deep character exposition then move on - this is a musical. But if as the song says "You ain't looking for nothin' but a good time", and you can cope with a bit of guilty pleasure music then Rock of Ages really is for you.
Along with the cheese and a hint of comedy, comes a large side order of ham as some of the cast throw in a bit of over-acting here as is the wont of musicals.
Tom Cruise attempts to do a swaying Jim Morrison mixed in with a dash of more nourished Iggy Pop but in all honesty, he's a little too weedy to be a lounge lizard writhing about in leather pants as he simply spends a lot of the time staring in a (purple) haze as the fallen rockstar, who used to be a mega star. It means that unfortunately he didn't quite manage to convince me as the so called legendary Stacee Jaxx.
Likewise, younger lead Diego Bonita never quite hits the right notes as the Bourbon Club bartender who falls for Julianne Hough's Sherrie; but the pair of them manage to be likeable enough to propel you through their entirely predictable and ever so slightly bland story arc as the film swirls from one musical medley to the next.
And it is really the music which is the star of this flick - even if there are a few too many tunes belted out all over the place.
It's not really about Shankman's direction or the committed energy (and occasionally variable voice talents) of the cast; I can pretty much hedge my bets that you won't be looking at the spot on 80s recreation of the era, you'll be unleashing the bogan in you as this feel good toe tapping medley of motley rock music unfurls. There's an infectious enthusiasm and energy to Rock of Ages which is utterly contagious.
Chalk Rock of Ages up to a guilty pleasure. It's as bloated and as excessive as the overblown 1980s rock music scene but hell, it's a fun night out at the cinema - if you're prepared to just put your brain in neutral and go with it.