Movie review: 'Rock of Ages'

The screen adaptation of Broadway's ‘Rock of Ages' pays hilarious tribute to the '80s.
BY GENE TRIPLETT Published: June 15, 2012

And then there's Stacee's shifty manager, Paul Gill (an amusingly sleazy Giamatti), who's been known to welsh on contracts, and the self-righteous mayor's wife (a fiery Zeta-Jones) who's crusading to shut down the iniquitous club scene altogether.

It's all pretty silly and all too similar to musical story lines we've seen before, but the comic turns by Baldwin and Brand as his devoted hippie-dippy sound tech are priceless, especially when they duet on REO Speedwagon's “Can't Fight This Feeling” after discovering the true nature of their feelings for one another. And then there's Cruise's seduction of a no-nonsense Rolling Stone reporter (Akerman) on a pool table as they breathlessly croon Foreigner's “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Executive music producer Adam Anders (“Glee”) and music supervisor Matt Sullivan (“Chicago”) have enriched and polished the instrumental arrangements of these familiar anthems to a level that's superior to the Top 40 originals, and all of the actors turn in vocal performances that range from admirable to excellent.

And then there's Cruise, who underwent dedicated vocal training in preparation for this role. When he cuts loose on Guns N' Roses' “Paradise City” and Def Leppard's “Pour Some Sugar On Me” he is absolutely electric, making all the right stage moves to boot. Could this be the start of a second career? Take note, Axl Rose and Joe Elliott.

If only the '80s had really been this much fun.

— Gene Triplett


‘Rock of Ages'

PG-132:033 stars

Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise. (Sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking and language)

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