Written by / 6/16/2012 / No comments / , , , , , ,

ROCK OF AGES

It's supposed to be bad? Right?
title: ROCK OF AGES
year: 2012
cast: Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise
intentional camp value: ***

There have been many really awful movies in the last couple years, so it’s about time one basks in outright cheesiness and winds up miraculously... entertaining.

Right off the bat we realize every glossy 1980's tune is more or less a daydream as blond beauty Sherrie, played by Julianne Hough, is on the bus to L.A. and everyone aboard, including the driver, shares verses of Night Ranger’s ballad Sister Christian – if you can survive this you’ll do alright. Sherrie winds up working at a nightclub called THE BOURBON, meets the boy of her dreams, and both want to be famous singers. This is a world where several actual bands don’t exist since our fictional characters have written their songs (from Def Leppard’s POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME to GNR’s PARADISE CITY to Journey’s DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’).

That includes primadonna rock star Stacee Jaxx… About to quit his longtime band he’s got one final gig at the club – but only if he sobers up. Tom Cruise portrays the eccentric rocker with a sincere yet ridiculously brooding machismo, walking with a slither and taking himself much too seriously. His scenes, including one in which Rolling Stone reporter Malin Akerman’s interview becomes a sexual romp, go on too long and it’s never quite clear what’s behind his erratic behavior. But when it's Tom Cruise giving his all, does anything else really matter?

Catherine Zeta-Jones savors the antagonist role as a religious zealot trying to shut the place down at all costs and she, like everyone else including club owners Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, take part in musical numbers that never cease. Yet with all the glitter and glamour it’s Hough’s dreamer Sherrie that brings this corny fable down to earth; what little story exists, she keeps going. Reminiscent of cult musicals like SGT PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND and XANADU, here's a project completely unashamed to be exactly what it is: a guilty pleasure.
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