Yes, I confess I am an apostle, groupie, total sucker for the rock and roll genre; try to keep me shackled to my seat when Chuck Berry or The Beatles belt “It’s Gotta Be Rock and Roll Music if You Wanna Dance With Me”; wholesome lyrics igniting sedentary soles; shedding chains of gloom or woe, tickling titillation smothering, with a healthy fever, all that ails the spirit; I love it and literally skipped to the first performance of “Rock of Ages”.
The simplistic plot revolves around the Bourbon Room in 1987, Los Angeles (many shudder at the bleak memory of Monday October 19th, and the nauseating 508 point plummet of the Stock Market); raunchy, sensational performances by neophyte and seasoned rock groups. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand are the proprietors, sinking into the quagmire of financial turpitude, determined to resuscitate the dying art of “rock’. This is a partnership made in Hollywood heaven; their sincerity coated with humor, hilarious and surprisingly sensitive; their majestic scene is one of the finest in the film.
Catherine Zeta-Jones in a cringingly embarrassing, single- dimensional role, as the “Susan B. Anthony” of L.A. determined to shutter the Bourbon Room and rid the town of its salacious blight, and destined ruination of its children (shades of “Footloose”); this one will remain absent in her personal filmography.
Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta play the would-be stars, almost-lovers, with enough skill to be passably entertaining; their youth, beauty as yet untarnished by the available substances which surround them. Herein lies total plot predictability.
Tom Cruise. As dedicated as I am to rock and role; the same holds true for my admiration of this gutsy man. He acts with the same fiery intensity as Jimmy Connors played tennis or Michael Jordon, basketball; as if this was the finale, culmination of his career. His characterization of “Stacee Jaxx” lends limited legitimacy to lewdness; his finely-honed tattooed form (second only to “Queequeg” in “Moby Dick”) moves with the sinuousness of a naga, grace of Michael Jackson; he sings, worthy of the adulation he inspires in mythic proportions; he is Prometheus unbound, the quintessential, ageing god of rock, drugged and lost.
A slick production, featuring songs by Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Foreigner rocks with the musical numbers but plods stiflingly, monotonously with the narrative.
Exiting, one young lady said to her chagrined and disappointed friend, “you’ll never understand how much I love Tom Cruise”; silently I responded, “oh, I do, I do”.
TWO & 3/4 STARS!!