Rating: (and that’s for Tom Cruise’s Stacee Jaxx alone)
What can I say about Rock Of Ages? You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it, and you probably have at least an inkling of which way you will sway before you see one frame.
I was sure I would stay quite firmly out of the cinema for this one. I’m not a huge fan of musical theatre, and less so of the avaricious nostalgia that has swept its lazy offerings of late. At the pinnacle of this unholy marriage, Rock of Ages – The Stage Show seems to sit, jostling for position with We Will Rock You and whatever the one moonwalking on Michael Jackson’s grave is called.
But then there’s that trailer, that confusing trailer, which manages to cajole you into thinking that Rock of Ages – The Film might be different. That it might be this decade’s Moulin Rouge. It seems fun, and funny, and quite clever. And then before you know it, Tom Cruise is sweeping a magic marker across a young woman’s breasts like some sort of inebriated rock Zorro and you’re there, handing over your cash for a giant bucket of slightly-camp popcorn.
To be fair to the filmmakers, Rock of Ages does exactly what it promised to do, it’s just that while the whole premise is incredibly fun when it’s the length of a rock song, and is probably a hoot when viewed live in a theatre, it just seems lazy and long and dull when put on film. The plot is sooooooo derivative it’s embarrassing (which, again, seems to go unpunished in the theatre) and the loyalty to the stage show that sees all of 5 different sets used for the whole film just makes it feel like it has been done on a studio backlot somewhere on the cheap – which it has.
“But that’s not the point, ” many will say. “You watch Rock of Ages for the songs”. No, I watch MTV for the songs. I watch YouTube for the songs. And neither of them cost me a tenner each time. I’ve never been one for the awful idea that familiarity is entertaining, particularly when it comes to music. Just because someone famous (or not so famous – hello, The X Factor) sings a song I’ve danced to once doesn’t make me go rubbery.
Still, I am unfortunately no David to this Goliath, and Rock of Ages will probably rumble on like a faux-80s behemoth. One thing I am sure of is that it will win awards – in particular, a Golden Raspberry for Russell Brand’s accent, which rattles around the British Isles like the man never set foot on our shores, let alone was born here. And the MTV Movie Awards’ Best Screen Kiss is definitely going to Rock of Ages, although less certain is which of the many memorable snogs will get it.
If you like this sort of rubbish, then go ahead – you’ll love it. If, however, you have any doubts at all, or had any prior to watching the trailer, my advice is to heed them. There’s always the DVD release if you regret it.