Musicals that base their stories on previously recorded music are clearly trending on Broadway. Jersey Boys, Movin’ Out, and of course, Rock of Ages. Moving to the big screen with none of the original cast in any lead role, Rock of Ages pours an over sensationalized bucket of retro nostalgia all over its audience. Blurring the line between satire and mockery, Rock of Ages is an awkward trip through a redundant story.
Sherrie’s (Julianne Hough) the small town mid-western girl with big dreams of making it in Los Angeles. Drew (Diego Boneta) is the soft, but connected youngster waiting to make a name for himself as a rock God. Amongst the backdrop of a famous LA club in danger of closing down due to backed taxes, the new mayor’s crazed wife’s plan to destroy rock and roll includes shutting that institution down. As such, Drew and Sherri experience a lifelong heap of ecstasy and troubles in the span of two weeks. Everything comes to a head the night Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), the legend himself, will play for the last time with his band at the club that started it all for them. On this night, everyone’s life will change.
Given–I’m not a huge fan of over extravagant musicals. Still, Rock of Ages is far too much a jigsaw puzzle made out of clichéd plot lines to be enjoyable, even if it was a dark, sci-fi thriller. There are a sizable amount of laughs to be had, but it’s a hard to separate where the film wants to make fun of the base it’s built on, or play sweetly off growing love for everything 80s. It feels dishonest when a plot rips to shreds the one part of the story that makes people want to see it.
Wide eyed and slack jawed, I was dumbfounded by the extremely weird and silly leanings the film employs. From the crazy monkey Stacee Jaxx owns, to the point where he is actually singing to a reporter’s ass; I figured someone slipped something in my drink that turned everything I saw into a world of over-capped goofiness. The whole film isn’t something overly horrific and sub-par, but I was more confused and bewildered by the progression of the film’s tone.
I could have easily walked into any given karaoke bar instead of seeing this movie and witnessed two plastered fools make-out after singing, Don’t Stop Believing, and gotten the same story people are paying to see. Besides that fact, songs are piled on-top of each other. Forget that fact they ofter play two songs at once as some sort of music battle, some numbers begin before the previous one fades out. Sure, this is a musical, but maybe pull back a bit and flesh out your story a bit more. Relying on tired plots so more songs can be added is poor way to structure a film.
The world has reached a point where it’s been over indulged by wacky satire about dated styles. The only way it can become interesting is by making it bigger and even more outrageous than before. It’s at this point when even something that can be considered entertaining, becomes mind numbing. If you want to watch the 80s hair band version of Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, you’re in for the ride of your life. If not, get ready to bang your head against the wall.
Rating: 2 and a half out of 5 ‘Staches