In the Broadway to big screen adaptation directed by famed choreographer Adam Shankman (Hairspray, So You Think You Can Dance) Rock of Ages will be a good time for anyone with an ounce of affection for some of the 80’s biggest hits and who wants to see a solid all around performance from a great ensemble cast.
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In the film, a small town girl meets a city boy (sound familiar Journey fans?) while in hot pursuit of their Hollywood dreams. Then of course boy falls for girl, boy loses girl, then boy wins girl back, all told through the eyes of Sherrie (Julianne Hough) and Drew (Diego Boneta) while they work in the Bourbon Room, the hottest and most fiscally mismanaged club on the sunset strip run by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his partner in crime Lonny (Russell Brand).
In the background of this love story, Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston) and his family value centric wife Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) are doing all they can to shut down the morally bankrupt rock and roll sanctuary that is the Bourbon Room.
Enter the Bourbon Room’s savior, Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise). Managed by one of the most cutthroat managers in the business Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti), Stacee agrees to do his band’s farewell show in the Bourbon Room to save it from being shut down for back taxes.
In what is one of the highlights of his career and should earn him much award season recognition, Cruise’s Stacee Jaxx is one of the best performances we may see this year. He is the full embodiment of Axl Rose and is overly convincing as an 80’s hair metal band front man. In what was clearly proof that he’s capable of great stunt performances, it’s extremely refreshing to see Tom in a role where you’re allowed to forget you’re watching Tom Cruise.
The film is capped off with other great performances by the likes of Malin Akerman (The Heartbreak Kid, 27 Dresses) who plays the Rolling Stone reporter whose interview with Stacee Jaxx becomes a life altering experience and Mary J. Blige as Justice, the den mother of the Venus Club for Gentlemen. Mary belts out great classics from Journey and Pat Benatar and is a very welcomed delight to the film. And Tom’s sidekick Mickey the baboon will provide a lot of extra laughter to an already enjoyable film.
Rock of Ages is exactly what it set out to be – an onscreen Broadway musical. The performances from Cruise and Blige are worth the price of admission alone. The film is fun, a bit cheesy (duh), and is well handled by Adam Shankman. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself Friday June 15th when it hits theaters.
“Rock Of Ages” Trailer:
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