Feature

Rock of Ages

A musical set to a 1980s soundtrack.

Directed by Adam Shankman
(PG-13)

 **

This adaptation of a 7-year-old stage hit “desecrates three grand traditions—Broadway musicals, movie musicals, and rock ’n’ roll,” said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. “Yet the movie has its cheesy pleasures, and some of them are even intended.” A slight love story about two young singers trying to make it in 1987 Los Angeles holds the movie together, but the lovebirds’ quest exists solely “to get us from one bizarre production number to the next,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. “The true genius of this movie” is how willfully fake it is, providing artificial reasons for Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and a few other celebrities to launch into their own renditions of terrible 1980s hair-metal hits. Only a terrifically weird Tom Cruise doesn’t seem to be in on the joke. Yet Cruise’s “whispering and writhing” Axl Rose imitation is probably the best reason to see Rock of Ages, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. The rest of this rock demimonde “looks like Disneyland” and “sounds, well, like a bad Broadway musical, with all the power belting and jazz-hand choreography that implies.” 

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