Rock of Ages
Onstage, the ABBA love letter "Mamma Mia!" made the jukebox-musical trick look easy and enjoyable. On screen, less enjoyment, more strain -- but people love their ABBA, their Meryl Streep and their Greek islands. And the movie did the trick for those who never miss a
We have the popularity of "Mamma Mia!" to thank for a much thinner jukebox goof, the tribute to '80s glam, hair, metal and krrrrranggg! known as "Rock of Ages." A few days after seeing a screening, I was driving by a billboard for the movie, and I thought, well, who knows? That might be fun. Then I realized I'd already seen it. And forgotten it.
This painless but oddly indistinct screen version of the stage show, built around two dozen songs made famous by
The year is 1987; the place is the
With the club's future threatened, all is riding on
Soul-sick from a life of pliable groupies and too much eyeliner, Jaxx has consented to an interview with a reporter (
Shankman had much better luck with "Hairspray," a rock-solid stage property (based on
Cruise is certainly a sight, and to the degree he's doing his own vocals (which I think he is), he's impressive. Now: Is he right for the role? Is he funny? Not really, and not really. This may be the most enervating yet hypercontrolled portrait of a rock icon (fictional division) ever filmed. Cruise's Jaxx is all attitude and no pacing; 20 minutes of this overlong jape could've been excised simply by cutting each of Cruise's nonverbal windups or reaction shots in half.
I was ready for "Rock of Ages." I wanted nothin' but a good time. I was reasonably ready to rock. The movie, full of talented performers in search of a more propulsive vehicle, settles for workmanlike cover-band status, which makes this a cover-band tribute to a jukebox musical -- a long way from true, trashy exhilaration.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking and language).
Running time: 2:03.
Credits: Directed by
"Rock of Ages" Movie Trailer
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