The plot of Rock of Ages is essentially filler between catchy songs: girl moves to L.A. to “make it big,” girl meets boy, girl also gets to meet Stacee Jaxx, one of the most popular music stars in the ’80s, there’s conflict, etcetera. But we all know we’re not seeing Rock of Ages for the plot, but rather for the music, so this can be overlooked, and the music scenes definitely deliver.
Sherrie (Julianne Hough, Footloose) takes a bus from Oklahoma to L.A. with the dreams of being a famous singer. On her first night walking the Sunset Strip, her suitcase is stolen, and she meets Drew (Diego Boneta, TV’s Pretty Little Liars), a singer/guitarist who works at The Bourbon, one of the more prominent clubs on the Strip. He gets her a job as a waitress, and their romance begins. At the same time, The Bourbon, owned/managed by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin, TV’s 30 Rock) is in financial trouble, and nothing he or his business partner Lonny (Russell Brand, Arthur) can do will save it. Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) playing for the last time ever with his group, Arsenal, before going solo, however, could save them, and Dennis strikes a deal with Stacee’s slimy manager Paul (Paul Giamatti, Ides of March) to have him play The Bourbon. They’re all in for one of the craziest and most memorable nights of their lives–that is, if Stacee Jaxx shows up on time to play the concert.
Tom Cruise took voice lessons to play the part of Stacee, and it definitely paid off, though he isn’t in the film as much as Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta, both of whom are also fine singers. Even Giamatti sings a few tunes here and there, and Alec Baldwin surprised me with his singing too. The film also stars Catherine Zeta-Jones (No Reservations) as the mayor’s wife who hates Stacie Jaxx and all that “his music” stands for, and Malin Akerman (Wanderlust) as a reporter from Rolling Stone who ends up having a deep connection with Stacie.
Yes, definitely see this movie. Even though it clocks in at a little over two hours, if you like ’80s songs at all you will love this film. Admittedly, too, I have never seen the Broadway production of Rock of Ages, and I’ve heard that they’ve taken liberties with some of the plot and characters in the film, but this also allows me to give an unbiased opinion of the movie, without referencing the musical. Music in the film ranges from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll,” and the movie does a fabulous job with using ’80s music throughout the entire runtime.
Rock of Ages is in theaters today, June 15th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 125 minutes.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5