Sherrie (Julianne Hough, Footloose) steps off a bus in Hollywood to pursue her dreams of being a singer and 45 seconds later finds herself with a job waiting tables at the hottest rock joint on the strip thanks to Drew (Diego Boneta, 90210) a plucky singer/waiter who’s perfect for her. Meanwhile, the club’s owner, Dennis (Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock), and his assistant, Lonny (Russell Brand, Arthur) are being driven crazy by the demands of the world’s biggest rock star, Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol) and his weaselly manager, Paul (Paul Giamatti, Win Win). Then there’s a couple more rehashed plotlines as a cynical reporter, Constance (Malin Akerman, Couples Retreat) gets rid of all her scruples to become Stacee Jaxx’s love slave and the most self righteous woman in Los Angeles (Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Rebound) leads the charge against Stacee Jaxx and the hedonism of rock music.
I guess our main storyline would be the two fresh faced kids who work at the club and the devastating turns their dreams take as she ends up working as a stripper and he ends up being marketed as part of a New Kids on the Block rip-off instead of as a rocker, but the through-line was so muddy that I had no feeling of the story’s trajectory or aim. All I could do was sit in my seat praying for swift end to all of the tired clichés and actors winking at the audience. I’ve never been so happy to see end credits in my life.
I realize that in satirical comedies there’s a certain “Look, Ma, I’m acting” quality to performances, but with all of the quality actors in this thing I figured maybe there would be ONE character to root for. Nope. Everybody’s stupid and trite and no one has anything new or interesting for us. The music is good, but they had a decade of rock to sift through and grab the cream of the crop, however, I’m fairly certain Glee has already used every one of these songs and—wait for it…Glee did them better. GLEE!
Seriously. This flick is like a two-hour episode of Glee for adults, except they took out all the clever dialogue and made sure not to include any likeable characters. I realize we’re all supposed to sit back and laugh at the send-up of the 80’s fashions and characterizations, but it lacked any kind of affection. You want to see that kind of thing done right? Get a copy of The Wedding Singer. It seemed like everyone in Rock of Ages was making fun of their own character in the broadest way possible, and if the actors aren’t even pulling for their own character, how are we supposed to?
All right, okay, fine. Seeing Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx was kind of fun, but that alone did not make up for the rest of the time I had to spend with this picture.