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Rock Solid - A review of Rock of Ages

Updated on June 19, 2012
Malin Akerman is a Rolling Stone reporter sent to interview the elusive Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) as the aging rock god prepares to bid farewell to his band.
Malin Akerman is a Rolling Stone reporter sent to interview the elusive Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) as the aging rock god prepares to bid farewell to his band.

No plot, but who needs one? This is a great concert movie featuring a lot of great tunes from the '80's. And Tom Cruise as a washed up rock god is inspired ca

I don’t know if it is just me, but why is there such a proliferation of these new musicals based on Rock and Roll archives? I mean, isn’t there enough original material out there to create real musicals without having to resort to creating fluff from ‘80’s hits? As a culture, have we become this vapid?

Case in point is Rock of Ages, featuring Tom Cruise as an almost washed up rock god about to retire from his band at one large ‘80’s concert. Good casting of an almost washed up actor.

Add to the mix, a smarmy agent (Paul Giamatti), a rock venue promoter (Alec Baldwin), his swarthy bartender (Russell Brand), two lovesick kids (Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough), a cheating mayor (Bryan Cranston) and his crusader wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), an understanding strip house madam (Mary J. Blige) and a fawning reporter (Malin Akerman) and you have the makings of another successful musical hit.

Think of this as kind of like watching an extended episode of Glee.

There’s no plot to speak of, but the music and the singing is terrific. I almost couldn’t believe that I was actually hearing all the actors actually singing their roles, but they were. Yes, all of them. Yes, even Tom Cruise.

And who’d a thunk the guy could sing? But he can!

Obviously, this is going to end predictably. It’s based on a Broadway musical after all. And like so many that have come before, you’ll be amused at the clever way they incorporated the songs into the telling of the tale.

Years ago, when I attended college and studied radio and television production, one of our projects was to construct a five minute radio drama using just the lyrics and excerpts from songs to tell the story. Who’d ever think that someone would take their project and expand it for the big screen? But that’s exactly what happened here.

There are far superior musical rock dramas out there, though. Moulin Rouge comes to mind. And while it’s more Pop/Disco than rock, even Mamma Mia had a better plot overall.

But if you crave two hours of mindless entertainment, you have two choices – either see the new Adam Sandler comedy or Rock of Ages.

At least this one has good music. I give Rock of Ages 3 out of 5 stars.


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