Sherrie (Julianne Hough) is just a small-town girl (living in a lonely world) who takes the midnight Greyhound to 1987 Hollywood looking for stardom.
Within minutes she’s penniless on Sunset Strip and being rescued by bar keep/struggling musician Drew (Diego Boneta), who introduces her to ailing flea-pit the Bourbon.
Run by a gone-to-seed impresario (Alec Baldwin) and his sidekick (Russell Brand), the Bourbon needs a big opening night to survive – and soused hair-rock god Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) could just save them with one big gig. But moral crusader and mayor’s wife Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) isn’t gonna take it…
Based on the guilty-pleasure Broadway show that crowbars ’80s rock hits together via inconsequential plotting, Rock Of Ages on film follows the wisdom that audiences liked Mamma Mia! and Smash so will no doubt sway with lighters out at the thought of big stars warbling hits by the likes of Poison, Def Leppard, Journey, Bon Jovi and Styx while wearing mullets.
Funny, right? Well, yes, to a point. Adam Shankman certainly knows how to amp up gleeful (no pun intended) cheese after directing Hairspray, and ROA belts along at a pace, switching karaoke classics at whiplash speed while earnest Hough and Boneta work charm into a flabby script and Baldwin and Paul Giamatti (as a douche-bag manager) provide performance.
Zeta-Jones may be overly jazz hands and Brand undecided on his accent (Midlands, London, Cornish?), but at least there’s a knowing pep in their step.
And then Cruise arrives on-screen; never intentionally wearing a top and posturing like an Axl Rose redux.
His character built-up from the stage version, where Jaxx is an entertainingly deluded clown and peripheral character, Cruise’s wash-up is clearly the star of the show (in lingering camera angles and engorged screen-time) but moves a beat too slowly to bring the funny as much as you’d like.
Although his dirty duet with Rolling Stone journo Malin Ackerman to ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’ does send the raunch factor stratospheric.
Disposable, overly long fun best enjoyed with BFFs and a bevvie. Some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues…