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'Rock of Ages' Thin on Plot, Big on Fun

Published: Friday, June 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012 18:07

Rock of Ages

Starring Julianne Hough and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Directed by Adam Shankman

Rated PG-13

Opens Friday

Grade: B+

The tagline for “Rock of Ages” is “Nothin’ but a Good Time.” It’s the title of a Poison song that appropriately sums up the ‘80s musical.

It also describes what the big-name actors in the ensemble cast were looking for when they decided to be a part of this film that exposes their singing and dancing talents, as well as the bare behind of Tom Cruise in some leather chaps.

With fairly hollow characters and story lines that don’t generate any emotion, the movie’s saving graces are the awesome covers of ‘80s songs and fashions.

“Rock of Ages” is the tale of a small town sweetie Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough), who meets city boy Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) in Hollywood. Drew and Sherrie have come to the city to pursue their dreams of singing. They work in the Bourbon Room, a music club owned by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin).

It’s 1987, and things are changing in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Rock’s hottest (fictional) band Arsenal is disbanding due to lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) pursuing a solo career. Jaxx is the typical ‘80s rock star – long hair, lots of leather, surrounded by beautiful babes and perpetually drunk. Stacee is a hot mess, and Cruise has a blast with it.

Arsenal is set to play their last show at the Bourbon Room, a deal arranged by Dennis in a last-stitch effort to save his club from the mayor’s wife, Patty Wortham (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Patty wants to get rid of rock ‘n’ roll by clearing the music clubs from the strip.

The plot gets a bit messy from there: Drew and Sherrie fall in love, then break up over a misunderstanding with Stacee; Patty and her church-lady crew plot to close the Bourbon Room; Drew gets a shot at fame and fortune; Sherrie becomes a stripper; two of the characters go gay for each other; Paul Giamatti sports some fugly ‘80s sweaters and Dennis scrambles to save his club.

The story is jumbled, but who cares when you get to see Cruise singing “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” Zeta-Jones belting Pat Benatar or Baldwin and Russell Brand covering “I Can’t Fight this Feelin?”

Although the movie felt like it dragged on, it was a hoot to see these stars rocking out in ‘80s fashion, showcasing their skills as entertainers instead of their acting chops.

“Rock of Ages” was nothing but a good time, and, to quote Poison again, “Ain’t looking for nothing but a good time, and it don’t get better than this.”

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