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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Tom Cruise
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Alec Baldwin
Russell Brand
Julianne Hough
Paul Giamatti
Mary J Blige
Diego Gonzalez Boneta.
Directors
Adam Shankman.
Screenwriters
Chris D'Arienzo
Justin Theroux
Allan Loeb.
Running Time
123 minutes

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Rock Of Ages
Tom Cruise IS Shayne Ward


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Plot
Sherrie (Hough) and Drew (Boneta) both have their hearts set on rock fame, while Stacee Jaxx (Cruise) is tiring of his. All will rewrite their destiny in a dive bar under threat of bankruptcy and persecution from the ultra-conservative wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) of the new mayor.


Review
Rock Of Ages
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Rock Of Ages is not a musical in the artistic sense, where songs are specifically written to convey what the character is feeling, what they want or the fact that they’ve just arrived in a big city with an awful lot of dreams. It’s a mixtape musical, in which all the songs are old, popular hair-rock numbers, chosen because they have a title that fits a broad emotion, even if the lyrics are basically meaningless. Essentially, any story here is just filling time until they can have someone say “We built this city on rock and roll”, “I wanna rock” or “I want to know what love is” and then sing the rest of the song as we all shuffle along in recognition. It’s utterly ridiculous, a tequila shot of a movie: cheap and thin but able to addle your senses until you’re in no position to judge anything.

In a way that’s either very smart or very lazy, the plot follows the same shallow arc as your typical rock anthem. A girl (Hough, adorable) arrives in 1980s Hollywood with double denim on her back and a few quarters in her purse; a boy (Boneta, endearing) works a bar; both dream of love and fame. Inevitably, strippers, motorbikes, whisky and The Man all figure before the big finish. Bon Jovi spent years writing plots like this and resolving them in four minutes.

It would be very easy for this movie star karaoke session to fall apart after the first couple of hits, so little is there to hold it together. And there are certainly times when it could have used judicious cutting – it’s a good 25-minutes too long and several roles are pointless, like Mary J. Blige playing a woman whose sole characteristic is belting it out quite loudly when needed. But Adam Shankman has immense skill in elevating tackiness. In Hairspray he snuck the segregation story in quietly under the jaunty pop, and here he draws wit from songs written with none.

He’s helped by a cast who commit absolutely, either incapable of embarrassment or unaware they should be. Tom Cruise (who belts commendably and highlights his gameness by entering the movie bedazzled crotch first) and Malin Akerman doing the magnificently maudlin 'I Wanna Know What Love Is' as a ballad to one night stands is a highlight. As is Catherine Zeta-Jones stomping her way through 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot'. The true barometer of whether you’ll get any joy from this is whether or not you enjoy the idea of Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand singing 'Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore' at each other while twirling. If not, this is not your party.


Verdict
Like every one of its songs, it makes a lot of noise about nothing much and cockily straddles awfulness and greatness. It’s enormously entertaining nonsense.


Reviewed by Olly Richards


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Rock Of Ages
Empire Star Rating

RE: Better than I'd feared, but not as good as I'd hoped.

So I caught this on tele today and did not enjoy it. The plot itself was the same tired old script of boy meets girl, misunderstanding which causes them to part and then reconciliation. The songs were not really rock, ok so you had a Guns 'n' Roses song in there at the beginning which lead me to believe that we'd get some decent rock songs. Alas the songs were mostly pop or power ballads. Cruise, Zeta-Jones, Baldwin were good - the rest were poor-to-ok. 2/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ref at 00:25, 07 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Better than I'd feared, but not as good as I'd hoped.

Rock of Ages Two reasons why I saw this film, one the fact its supposedly filled with classic 80's rock tracks and two, the word on the street surrounding Mr Cruise's performance as 'Stacee Jaxx'. Was pretty disappointed straight away to find out the plot is the most basic overused cliched idea that plays out just like 'Burlesque'. Of course being an all out musical you don't expect a fantastic story (well not in this day and age anyway) but the moment the lead female character leaves... More

Posted by Phubbs at 04:36, 30 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Better than I'd feared, but not as good as I'd hoped.

An initially enjoyable musical which seriously degenerates around half way through, with endless montages to soft rock tunes and a story that is just dragged out interminably. A few scenes of genuine sweetness and some well staged numbers just about keep it watchable. Very limited in its music; in a film called Rock of Ages, surely one has the right to expect more than a bunch of cheesy ballads? 5.5/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 18:34, 28 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Better than I'd feared, but not as good as I'd hoped.

Not afraid to admit that this was one of the most ludicrously entertaining films I've seen in quite some time. Worth the price of admission alone for the utterly bonkers and laugh out loud "I Want To Know What Love Is" & "Can't Fight This Feeling" numbers alone. 4/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulyboy at 10:14, 28 June 2012 | Report This Post


Better than I'd feared, but not as good as I'd hoped.

30% of Rock of Ages is the best thing I've seen this year. The other 70% is the absolute worst. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 23:12, 27 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Why Cruise???

Valkeryie.. ... More

Posted by awesomeo at 02:18, 18 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Why Cruise???

L: dannyfletch Haven't seen this yet so the rating is for cruise alone. From the trailer everyone looks pretty good apart from the annoying t The Same In Everything TOM CRUISE?ns everything he's in ( apart from Collateral where admittedly he is quite good for a change) and looks sooooo uncool in a role like this. I feel a real rocker or someone like Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling would've been a lot cooler and better! sm=schild15.gif] I'm not a massive Tom Cruise fan, but that is a ridi... More

Posted by Ref at 15:37, 17 June 2012 | Report This Post


Why Cruise???

Haven't seen this yet so the rating is for cruise alone. From the trailer everyone looks pretty good apart from the annoying Mr I Act The Same In Everything TOM CRUISE? He ruins everything he's in ( apart from Collateral where admittedly he is quite good for a change) and looks sooooo uncool in a role like this. I feel a real rocker or someone like Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling would've been a lot cooler and better! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dannyfletch at 11:39, 17 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

L: Madhava Does Empire just give everything three stars now? do hope so. You gotta admit, it makes for an entertaining forum - It's a madhouse! A MADHOUUUUUUUUSE!!! ... More

Posted by chris kilby at 11:06, 17 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: More Aged Rock

The only trouble with that is: it has a lot of Queen songs in it! ... More

Posted by chris kilby at 11:01, 17 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: More Aged Rock

If they wanted to do a rock movie musical,they should've done it based on We will rock you,not Rock of ages. We will rock you has a big,movie style plot that could benefit from special effects that can't be achieved on stage,so would make perfect sense. Plus,it has loads of characters you care about and enjoy watching such as Pop,Galieo,Scaramouche etc. ... More

Posted by Dalekbuster523 at 18:38, 15 June 2012 | Report This Post


More Aged Rock

In all honesty if you want to watch a cast lip sync (badly) to decent music (which the cast have pre-recorded and murdered in a studio beforehand) then save your bucks and get yer folks to do karaoke night with you... Such an awful unnecesary film!!! And if Tom Cruise keeps on insisting in getting his Moobs out in every film I may need to kill him!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by J_BUltimatum at 17:42, 15 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

Cheesy , Corny yes, yes, yes (whoops I'm turning into Daniel Bryan) BUT! is it fun HELL YES! you sit there thinking oh dear this aint gonna work & yet within 5 minutes you're foots tapping away like mad & you find yourself humming along to classic 80s rock from the first song to the last. It's worth the admission fee alone to see Zeta-Jones performance of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. 4/5 ROCK N ROLL BABY! ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 16:03, 14 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

Never saw the stage musical due to some seriously dire reviews but went to the see the film version today and it was good. Admittedly it's way too long, some bits dragged and were unfunny but despite those moments the music is fantastic, the film looks stunning, all the cast give it their best. Oh and Cruise has some seriously great musical set pieces. It's not as good as Shankman's Hairspray by a long shot but it's still definitely worth catching in the cinema for the music played over a big s... More

Posted by losthighway at 22:00, 13 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

The reason I gave it three stars is 1) the comments form won't let you post unless you rate the move and 2) given the names of the songs Olly listed in his review I'd rate ANY film 3 stars for including them. Even a film that comprised a single shot of a plastic bag flapping in the wind. The main point I was getting over was his review included a few too many references to what he thinks of Hair / Cock Rock that were unrelated to the film. ... More

Posted by TheMadFatChickKiller at 21:24, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

The reason I gave it three stars is 1) the comments form won't let you post unless you rate the move and 2) given the names of the songs Olly listed in his review I'd rate ANY film 3 stars for including them. Even a film that comprised a single shot of a plastic bag flapping in the wind. The main point I was getting over was his review included a few too many references to what he thinks of Hair / Cock Rock that were unrelated to the film. ... More

Posted by TheMadFatChickKiller at 21:24, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

The reason I gave it three stars is 1) the comments form won't let you post unless you rate the move and 2) given the names of the songs Olly listed in his review I'd rate ANY film 3 stars for including them. Even a film that comprised a single shot of a plastic bag flapping in the wind. The main point I was getting over was his review included a few too many references to what he thinks of Hair / Cock Rock that were unrelated to the film. ... More

Posted by TheMadFatChickKiller at 21:24, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


NO!

Doesn't this stand for everything rock n'roll isn't? Then again, Jovi, Lep, Crue and the like aren't exactly rock n'roll now are they ;) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sephiroth7 at 17:42, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


The plot right there in one of the songs

I saw this in the west end last year and thorouly enjoyed it. And as such am looking forward to this all star cast Hollywood version. I just feel like i need to point out the films plot is right there in one of its song. Thats part of the humour. Just a small town girl Living in a lonely world She took the midnight train going anywhere Just a city boy Born and raised in South Detroit... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mgmstudios at 17:03, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

L: Madhava Does Empire just give everything three stars now? t spends on the stars issued; red dwarvess, white dwarves, brown dwarves, neutron stars etc ... More

Posted by Woger at 15:14, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: If you don't like Rock, Olly

L: TheMadFatChickKiller And from your review you clearly don't, maybe someone a little less bias could have reviewed this? Hair and Cock Rock were all about the ridiculousness, and some of the songs were silly. But that was the point all along. n it, but from some of the titles in your review I'd say a minimum three stars too for cheesiness] ... More

Posted by waltham1979 at 13:59, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


Madhava

That's not how star ratings work and you know it... Read the review! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ali Plumb at 13:19, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Are you guys actually watching the movies?

L: Madhava Does Empire just give everything three stars now? uick! Compare it to Prometheus before someone else does! Too late! 3 stars means Adam Shankman is as good a director as Ridley Scott! ... More

Posted by UTB at 13:13, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


Are you guys actually watching the movies?

Does Empire just give everything three stars now? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Madhava at 13:00, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


If you don't like Rock, Olly

And from your review you clearly don't, maybe someone a little less bias could have reviewed this? Hair and Cock Rock were all about the ridiculousness, and some of the songs were silly. But that was the point all along. Not seen it, but from some of the titles in your review I'd say a minimum three stars too for cheesiness ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMadFatChickKiller at 12:47, 12 June 2012 | Report This Post


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