Rock of Ages is something of a cinematic travesty, and a waste of good talent who were willing to let loose and have fun on screen. It’s a shame because Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and even Russell Brand appear to be having a great time, and they can’t be blamed for the failure of the film. If Rock of Ages teaches us anything, it is the power of casting – both good and bad.
The central story of this 80s set musical follows a young couple, Sherrie and Drew (played by the talentless Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta), who both dream of stardom as they work in ‘The Bourbon Room’ on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. The club, owned by Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand is about three steps away from financial ruin, and it’s coming under pressure from Catherine Zeta-Jones’ right-wing parents group who believe that rock n’ roll is the work of the devil.
This simplistic story may have worked if the young leads could act, or if they even shared chemistry. The duo lack any sort of star quality, something which is very noticeable when they’re going toe-to-toe with such heavyweight support. I’d have happily watched a movie about Baldwin and Brand discovering their suppressed homosexual feelings than this well worn, over-stylised star-crossed lovers routine.
Adam Shankman’s film purports to want to hold a mirror up to the hedonistic nature if the music industry in the 80s, but it fails, coming across more like a film adaptation of Guitar Hero. Rock of Ages had the potential to have that musical X-Factor – but sadly, it’s out of tune.