Review – Rock of Ages

With so many remakes and sequels getting the green-light from film studio executives it seems the idea pool in Hollywood is getting shallow. The same could be said for the music industry where popular songs are repackaged as cover versions or sampled by lazy DJs frequently. Where both worlds cross over is where ‘Rock of Ages’ exists.

Set in 1987, a small town girl Sherrie (Julianne Hough) arrives in Los Angeles to chase her dreams. She meets Drew (Diego Boneta), a singer working at the Bourbon Room, the most famous rock music venue in LA that’s preparing for the arrival of the world’s biggest rock star Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise).

‘Rock of Ages’ is a public execution of a few 80s hits. The music of Poison, Def Leopard, REO Speedwagon, Twister Sister, Journey and more, are bent to fit the films plot and hacked to pieces in each performance. Don’t get too nostalgic about the era of glam rock in the 1980s because these songs aren’t the greatest musical works, but each original song is imbued with a sense of fun, that’s why everyone has their cheesy favourite. All life is sucked out of what made these songs popular and they become meaningless clones for mass consumption on iTunes.

There is no doubt that a majority of the cast can sing, but they aren’t great rock singers, and the big pink elephant in the room throughout the film is Cruise. His casting is obviously in exchange for star power and an attempt is made to transition his celebrity standing onto Stacee Jaxx. Credit to Cruise for taking the risk but the gamble does not pay off whether he’s singing or not. It’s a shame that director Adam Shankman didn’t try harder to find a true rock voice to fill the codpiece of Jaxx.

Outside of the singing there are scenes full of enough melodrama to produce a spinoff television soap opera called Days of Our Glam Rock Lives.

The appearance of Paul Giamatti as a money hungry band manager is excellent and Catherine Zeta-Jones is not used enough as a great baddie once described as “hibernating in Margaret Thatcher’s bum hole”.

‘Rock of Ages’ is karaoke night in Hollywood and a 10 drink minimum may be required to get any enjoyment out of it.


‘Rock of Ages’ is released:

13 June 2012 UK

14 June 2012 Australia

15 June 2012 US

The Popcorn Junkie