ROCK OF AGES
Direction: Adam Shankman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones
An excuse to string together the jukebox hits of the era, the screenplay spins the simple tale of an aspiring singer (Julianne Hough) with dreams of making it big in the City of Angels.
The small-town girl gets a big-time lesson in the ways of the glam rock world when she meets cute with a bartender (Diego Boneta) at a popular watering hole.
A large part of the film’s appeal derives from the cover versions of rock standards by the A-list ensemble. They may be over-designed, but the costumes and sets, circa 1987, are spot-on.
On the other hand, the narrative loses momentum in the latter half as the plot peters out into a not particularly strong finale.
The unknown young leads handle the musical numbers capably enough. Alec Baldwin as the owner of the rock club, Russell Brand as his spaced-out deputy and Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as the puritanical crusader intent on closing down their joint, are ebullient as ever.
The redoubtable Paul Giamatti in the role of a manipulative manager and Malin Akerman as a bespectacled Rolling Stone reporter display dynamic drive.
The real casting coup, though, is Tom Cruise. Sporting shoulder length hair and fake body tattoos, the athletic action star has a blast in his first movie musical.
Overall, Rock of Ages is a joyous celebration of song, dance and all that rock’n’ roll.