Posted by: greercn | June 18, 2012

Rock Of Ages

“Rock Of Ages” has been hugely successful in the USA, as a musical, but less loved in the UK as it is completely free of irony.

It’s cheesy, self-indulgent and completely over the top. Yes, I enjoyed every minute.

That’s a bit strange, because I am not a Tom Cruise fan. In this, he is absolutely terrific. His performance as rock star Stacee Jaxx is just wonderful. He carries the role with great excess and is a lot of fun to watch. 

Ready for the most cliched plot in history? Here goes! A small town girl comes to Los Angeles to be a singing star. A guy she meets at the bar is also a singer.

They fall in love, but their path to happiness is blocked by obstacles.

Meanwhile, the bar they are working in on the Sunset Strip is under threat from politicians and moral majority types who hate rock and roll. It’s 1987. Everyone on the bus and on the picket lines sings.

Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand are both just grand. Brand is becoming someone I will see a movie for because he is just so very loving in how he portrays his characters.

Malin Akerman, Mary J Blige and Bryan Cranston all shine brightly. But it Catherine Zeta-Jones who completely owns every scene she is in. She sings, dances and acts to such a very high standard.

As our young leads, Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta are just fine. Adam Shankman directs and keeps up a pace that is full of energy and fizz.

Tom Cruise is the real revelation here. Not since “Risky Business” and “Cocktail” has he produced such a gloriously fun performance. This is very special.

I saw “Rock Of Ages” at Stratford Picturehouse –  I saw a treble bill in one afternoon – and my feet were tapping and I was singing along, as were most people. There are no original songs here, but the great anthems of the 1980s are trotted out and performed brilliantly.

And you have to love the cute monkey that has such super scenes.

I could have a go about some of the continuity errors, blatant product placement and costumes made of fabrics that did not exist in 1987. But that would be churlish and this movie makes me feel like suspending irony and disbelief and just going along for the ride. It’s a great ride.

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