Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical that wouldnt exactly be your best introduction to the genre. Pick Moulin Rouge! (2001) or Across the Universe (2007) for that. This is the kind of film you should watch after youve seen countless of musicals. Seen them over and over again. But even then I cannot guarantee if you will enjoy this film. It isnt exactly what you call a good movie. But its not a bad musical. The songs ARE the movie.
In India, we are accustomed to Bollywood musicals. The songs arent the story. Come on. They are for pee breaks, no? Or probably to go grab that little snack you've been thinking about since the past 45 minutes. Well, the truth is we arent conditioned to Hollywood musicals. Unless your childhood included watching them on VHS. The instant reaction for those who dont like Hollywood musicals or are not fundamentally used to actors singing in every subsequent scene will walk out. Believe me, at least 10 people walked out when I saw it. The American audience, on the other hand, will definitely lap it up.
If you are a fan of 80s metal, if you are a fan of Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Poison, Starship etc, this movie is for you. As for me, it was literally the music that saved this movie. It made the movie infinitely enjoyable. My favorite includes Tom Cruise and Malin Akerman singing Foreigners I Want Know What Love Is. There is also a duet between Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin which made me cheer, laugh and sing along at the same time. Did NOT see that coming.
Tom Cruises performance is spot on. He doesnt strike a single false note. He gets the hair, the moves, and the attitude down to a T. The two young leads are strictly okay. The story is supposed to be fashioned around their journey but if I sit down to write the plot down, you will decide to not to watch the movie. The factors that govern this decision are mentioned above (also below). Rock of Ages is drenched in artifice. If only the artifice was amplified. More fake and in our faces and it would be a great movie.
You know when you go for karaoke, nobody can really sing well? Most are just shouting, mumbling some of the lyrics away. But theres hardly anyone in that bar who isn't having fun. You can bet that it would be a fun night anyway. Rock of Ages is exactly that. The poster confirms - "Nothin' but a good time". As a movie, it doesnt know how to sing. But its surely having fun. I cant say this with absolute certainty but if Catherine Zeta-Jones can find some redemption in the end, you too will end up at least humming Dont Stop Believing by the end of the movie. It may not be a good movie, but it sure knows how to finish like one.