New in Hollywood, Sherrie dreams of making it as a singer. Drew, a barman at the infamous Bourbon Club, has similar dreams. When Drew gets Cherrie a job at the club, the pair are smitten. Others, however, are more preoccupied with Stacee Jaxx’s upcoming gig…
Set in 1987, Rock of Ages is a homage to 1980s hair metal. Understandably, music of this genre features heavily, so those not keen on it will instantly be put off. The rest of viewers should find Rock of Ages‘ soundtrack entirely appropriate, and fun in a sing-a-long kind of way.
What makes Rock of Ages work well is the tone, which is evident from the very beginning of the film. It is clear from the outset that this musical does not take itself too seriously. There is humour to be found throughout the film, from the hokey dialogue and use of music to some deliberately excessive performances.
In spite of this lightness in atmosphere, there are some more serious themes present in Rock of Ages. Sherrie’s time in Hollywood is not quite the dream that she expected, while Drew struggles with chasing his dream and the reality of the music business. Comment on musical creativity and its relationship with corporate domination is played out unambiguously.
Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta are well cast as leads Sherrie and Drew. It is the supporting cast who overshadow, however. Tom Cruise is fantastic as Stacee Jaxx. Cruise playing a strung-out but seductive rock star probably raises some eyebrows, but his performance is entirely in keeping with the tone of the film. Elsewhere, Alec Baldwin brings the humour, as does Catherine Zeta-Jones. Russell Brand is not quite as amusing, and his patchy accent can be a distraction.
Fans of 1980s music and pop culture should find Rock of Ages immensely entertaining. It is the sort of film that will leave viewers with a smile on their face.