“Rock of Ages,” based on the Broadway show open since 2009, was released in theaters on June 15.
Set to ’80s rock tunes including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” the film takes place in the 1980s along the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, where the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle thrives.
Both aspiring singers, main characters Drew and Sherrie meet and instantly connect with one another over their search for fame. Of course, in true movie fashion, everything goes wrong and things begin to get in the way, including a hot rock star, a conniving manager and the overall price of fame.
While the basic plotline was the same, the movie deviates so much from the original Broadway script that it is almost unrecognizable. Important moments and characters were changed and even left out completely. Besides the names of the characters and most of the songs, almost everything was different.
Diego Boneta plays Drew, the role originated by Constantine Maroulis of American Idol fame, who actually made a short cameo in the film. While Boneta lacks Maroulis’ certain charm and magnetism, he was one of the few shining parts of the movie. While “Rock of Ages” may have been the Mexican singer/actor’s big break, there is no doubt that it is just the beginning for his career.
However, Julianne Hough, who plays Boneta’s love interest Sherrie, was actually disappointing in her role. Her nasal singing and bad acting quickly became annoying, and she just seemed lifeless throughout the film.
Another bright spot of the film was Tom Cruise, who played Stacee Jaxx, lead singer of the rock band Arsenal. Stacee, who is constantly surrounded by women and booze, is the guy every girl loves and every guy wants to be. Cruise portrays Stacee in a less ignorant and more redeeming way than the musical’s airheaded version. Cruise has surprised audiences with how well he took on this character which seems so far out from his normal roles.
Other big name actors included Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. While Brand offered some comedic relief, the others did not live up to expectations. Baldwin was mediocre at best and Zeta-Jones as too over the top, while Blige was extremely underused.
Although the film was star studded, it missed the comedic sense and likability of the characters that the Broadway show has. Also, the lackluster choreography was far from memorable and did nothing to add to the film.
While director Adam Shankman’s film version of Broadway’s “Hairspray” was a box office success, this adaptation really missed the mark. It seems as though he worked too hard on getting an excess of high class stars that the true heart and soul of the story was neglected and left to suffer.
While people who did not see the Broadway show might be more apt to enjoy it, the overly campy and satirical movie lacked the humor, fun and enjoyableness of the stage version. Although it was promised to be “nothin’ but a good time,” the movie did not live up to the overabundance of hype it was given.
The Setonian gives this movie 2 out of 5 stars.
Kristyn Lyncheski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.