How many movie stars singing 80’s rock songs does it take to make a movie? According to “Rock of Ages,” as many as possible.
The movie is about a talented, mid-western girl coming to L.A. to find fame, and true love with a talented bar back also trying to find fame. Or, the movie’s about a popular club on the sunset strip that losing money and about to be shut down by some christian/parent/anti-rock association. Or it’s about an egotistical, aging rock star tired of his own image. Or it’s just an excuse to cram as many famous names as it can into two hours singing bad covers of great rock songs.
I love 80’s music! Journey, Van Halen, Poison, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Foreigner, the list goes on. That was the major pull for this film. I knew going into this movie that it wasn’t going to be great and it hit the bar I had set for it. This movie was exactly what I expected it to be … a complete mess that was mildly entertaining.
The big names on the soundtrack is evenly matched by the big names cast. Alec Baldwin as the club owner, Russell Brand as his second in command, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bryan Cranston leading the charge against the rockers, Malin Ackerman as the “Rolling Stone” reporter assigned to cover Tom Cruise’s wacked-out rock star, and Paul Giamatti as his sleezy manager.
Are any of these people known for their singing voices? No, but the movie doesn’t seem to really care about that. They’re just kinda throwing everything they can at the audience and seeing what sticks.
There are some stand-out moments. For instance, Russell Brand professing his undying love for Alec Baldwin by singing REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” as a duet with Baldwin. It was hilarious. Watching Baldwin try and sing in general was pretty funny. But I do have that tiny crush of Brand that makes me a bit bias.
And no one does crazy like Tom Cruise. Since his performance in “Tropic Thunder” I get the feeling that Cruise is in on the joke and I love that he can laugh at himself. As Stacy Jaxx, he’s bat-shit crazy and it’s fantastic.
This movie isn’t great but it’s decent, as long as you go in with mediocre expectations. It tries to capture the spirit of the 80’s, put feels more like a plasticized version of the decade.
Click here for a playlist of the originals … if you’re interested.