Tom Cruise embodies Stacee Jaxx the rock and roller with extreme pizzazz. Cruise/Jaxx is an out of control rock and roller without a clue in the world as to in what direction his drunken-stupor-ed life is heading. This all changes when he meets the sexiest little hellcat from Rolling Stones Magazine (Malin Akerman). Their gymnastic sexual compatibility is en fuego off the charts.
Alec Baldwin and Russell Crowe own the Bourbon, a throwback as the film is set in 1987 at the height and in many ways the decline of rock and roll as a music genre. The Bourbon is the house where Stacee Jaxx's career was launched and it subsequently made him a millionaire. Jaxx's character is a blend of several of the most famous rock stars of the 1980s but most of all his band Arsenal is modeled on Def Leppard. Even the band's font is identical to that of Def Leppard. The song "Rock of Ages" is one of Def Leppard's greatest hits.
At heart, Rock of Ages is a love story with a musical backdrop. Diego Boneta's character is a bar back at the Bourbon and his dream is to be a rock star. Suddenly, he encounters a newbie in town, played by the lovely Ms. Julianne Hough. Hough plays a girl-next-door cute as a button but wild and free at heart young woman from Oklahoma. Her dream is also to be a singer. They fall in love and seem to be star-crossed lovers until misperception and insecurity threaten to ruin everything. Diego ends up trapped in a boy band rather than pursuing his dreams and Hough becomes a stripper with a proclivity for the pole. Her pimpette if you will is none other than the infamous Mary J. Blige. Let me tell you, Blige's voice is electric. At the gentleman's establishment she exudes a raw sexuality that few others can.
I am overlooking Paul Giamatti's role as the sleazy manager because he blends in so well. There is little to comment on other than offering praise for his willingness to stoop this low for the sake of the show's continuity. On the opposite side of the fence is Catherine Zeta Jones. Though busy with her family (Michael Douglas and the kids) and with battling bipolar disorder, she NEEDS TO ACT MORE. She is a natural and a joy to watch. Jones is a master of her craft. She plays the role of the mayor's wide that has devoted herself to reigning in sex drugs and rock and roll. In doing so Jones reveals her character to be a sex-starved pervert of the highest magnitude. Simply delicious.
Though over-the-top and perhaps a little annoying with the constant musical interludes, Rock of Ages is a wonderful summer blockbuster that has earned high praise from Screen Spotlight. My audience recognized I am sharply critical of most films but I could not utter a pejorative word about this picture if I tried. I loved hearing Tom Cruise sing even if her belongs at karaoke because his character is the best. Nobody does it better, and few ever will.
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