Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie Review - Rock of Ages

From the trailers and what I thought I knew of the concept of this movie, I fully expected to enjoy it. I had a ton of fun with the musical "Mama Mia" from a couple of years back and part of me was expecting something similar to that film but with the 80s hair metal that I enjoy so much. Unfortunately, this film went to an extreme that I really wish it hadn't done…and due to that, it crashed down in a ball of fire for me.

The first ~third of the movie was great fun. It started out on a bus with our heroine Sherie hopping a bus from Tulsa to L.A.. She starts singing out the window and her fellow bus passengers joined in.

This continues into a little montage as she arrives in L.A. and we're introduced to some of the other main characters from the bar/club scene…they are each singing their own song but the scene and the music are intertwined. We get to know the mayor and his wife and then spend more time back in the club scene with some cheesy campy humor wrapped together with fun rock ballads. It was a lot of fun.

And then about ~20-30 minutes into the movie, things took a turn for the raunchy. As Catherine Zeta-Jones says in the trailer, Stacee Jaxx (the big name heavy rocker in the film…played by Tom Cruise) is about 3 things (and I paraphrase): "Sex, Rock Music, and Sex." And that, my friends, is what this movie gave us.

We started off with just the Rock music which was fun and cheesy. But after the initial scenes and introductions are done, the movie is about sex, sex, and more sex. We have the mayor having extramarital affairs (bondage style). We have Stacee Jaxx being completely raunchy not only generally with characters, but also very explicitly with a woman sent to interview him for a magazine (their clothes "were" on, but only barely). Our clean cut leading lady ends up working in a strip club. Our club own ends up "coming out" and macking with another employee of the club.

I will grant you that the Rock scene is NOT a clean-cut atmosphere and there's plenty of drinking, drugs and sex that go on in that environment. But I did expect this film to be more about the music and the fun then about the raunchy underbelly. Instead, the grimy muck was distracting to the point that even the fun songs midway through the movie were tainted with a general discomfort. I expected some sexual references and innuendo and maybe even a little more…this was a PG-13 movie. But it truly felt like these guys took it right to the limit of the "R" level and backed it out just enough to squeak out the PG-13 rating.

About halfway through the film, the group on our left had walked out. To my right, a few people were playing games on their phone. I kept hoping the movie might redeem itself and come away from the raunchiness to end on a higher note. Instead, it kept digging and digging. When it did try to finish up and bring all the threads together for a "happy ending", the air was already so dirtied with the junk from the middle act that there wasn't any redeeming it. The climactic final number(s) begin with Tom Cruise and the magazine reporting going for it again on the grimy bathroom floor surrounded by spilled booze, puke, toilet paper, and condoms…makes it hard to cheer on the happy ending when stuck in the junk on the bottom of a dingy bar's bathroom floor. Yuck.

The only semi-redeeming factor for the movie was the music…they picked some good classic 80s rock anthems. But honestly I would just say skip the movie and pull out your "hits of the 80s" album or go grab the movie soundtrack. You'll get all the good stuff without any of the garbage.

0.5 out of 5 stars

Today's Quote from Quoting Quotes:


Mari said...

Yeah, probably won't be seeing this one. DO you know if it is true to the stage show? Is it just as raunchy?

Okie said...

I'm not sure if the stage show goes as far as the movie version did or not. I don't know anybody that's seen it and I haven't looked into it myself...maybe I'll do some research.

Brian Miller said...

ugh i heard this pretty much bombed and you have now confirmed it...