Whether or not you’ll enjoy “Rock of Ages” seems to come down to how much you enjoy metal, musicals and Tom Cruise. If you like all three, you’ll be golden. If you like one of the three, it might depend which aspect you’re drawn to the most. If you don’t like any … you should probably hit up “Prometheus” or “Madagascar 3” or something.
Here’s what some of the critics thought of the movie musical that follows midwestern Sherrie (Julianne Hough) as she falls in love with rocker Drew (Diego Boneta) at a grimy rock club on the Sunset Strip in the late ’80s.
Owen Gleiberman says the movie as a whole is C material, but there’s one saving grace: “There is a reason to see ‘Rock of Ages,’ and that’s Tom Cruise’s funny, louche performance as Stacee Jaxx, the film’s jaded and dissolute Axl Rose metal-god figure. Cruise, holding his pistol-tattooed, zero-body-fat flesh at a drunken 45-degree angle, has the look and the poses down flat, but he also gives Stacee a haunted underside. He has seen the dark side of fame, and it’s written all over his face, but he’s not going to open up about it … Cruise, who can truly sing, does a rendition of ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ that rocks it and finds the deep soul of it. At that moment, you can glimpse the movie that ‘Rock of Ages’ should have been.”
Stephanie Zacharek, on the other hand, didn’t care too much for Cruise’s performance and enjoyed the film in spite of it: “The picture has a good-natured, if self-conscious, spring to its step, at least until you-know-who shows up in a bejeweled devil’s head codpiece. … The point, mainly, is to watch two young people, good-girl Oklahoma metalhead Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough, of Dancing with the Stars) and mild-mannered aspiring rock musician Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) meet, fall in love, break up over a misunderstanding, and then get together again. … ‘Rock of Ages’ is a sprawl whose cheerfulness feels more than a bit calculated. It’s a fake tattoo with the volume turned way, way up.”
Peter Travers thoroughly enjoyed himself, giving the movie 3 out of 4 stars: “The hugely enjoyable ‘Rock of Ages’ is saved by its music, a tasty brew drawn from Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison and Whitesnake. It’s near impossible not to rock along. No wonder ‘Rock of Ages’ is known on Broadway as ‘Mamma Mia! for metalheads.’ But even if you never again want to listen to Don’t Stop Believin’,’ there’s no denying the party-time pow of ‘Rock of Ages,’ or of Cruise’s performance. He’s phenomenal. He gets all the moves right — the sound, too (check him out on Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’). Better yet, he finds the heart that still beats inside the bare chest of this sex, drugs and rock & roll casualty. In a movie that only wants to rock you, Cruise plays it for keeps. Resistance is futile.”
Will you see “Rock of Ages”?