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It rocks. And Tom’s on a roll

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TO ROA1

David James

Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree and Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx in New Line Cinema's rock musical 'Rock of Ages'.

Rock of Ages

DIRECTOR: Adam Shankman

CAST: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mary J Blige, Paul Giamatti and Tom Cruise

RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes

CLASSIFICATION: 13 S

RATING: ***

 

A small-town girl, a city boy with big dreams and the real reason why Katie Holmes wants a divorce.

Sherrie Christian (Hough) trades in her Oklahoma girl-next-door look in pursuit of fame, fortune and Farah-Fawcett curls when she moves to Los Angeles with nothing but a suitcase and a stack of vinyls.

She loses her vinyls and her dream of becoming a singer when she meets and falls in love with up-and-coming rocker Drew (Boneta), who works the bar at the Bourbon Room.

In this much flashier remake of the Rock of Ages musical comedy, an ensemble cast that features Mary J Blige delivers a feel-good singing, dancing romp.

The cinematography is rich in colour and the spotlight is used most effectively – whether literally shining a light on future stars or distracting rocker-cum-sex-god, Stacee Jaxx from literally tonguing down a Rolling Stone reporter.

It’s 1987 and Tom Cruise is Stacee Jaxx, a rock ’n’ roll star at the peak of his career. What Cruise lacks in height, he makes up for in chiselled pecs and bad boy charm.

We’re not saying the Scientologist was hiding all of this before but really, who, besides Katie Holmes, knew that he had it in him? He can even hold a tune!

Coupling Jaxx’s sex appeal with the fact that he literally makes the female cast faint when he arrives may be one of the reasons Suri’s mom and dad are calling it quits. But we’re not ones to gossip.

Anyway, the boozing muso is booked to perform at the Bourbon Room, the Sunset Strip’s IT club, in the wake of quitting his band, Arsenal. The Bourbon’s owner, Alex (Baldwin in mommy jeans and a stringy bob cut), is knee-deep in debt and sure Jaxx’s performance will bring in just enough cash to get the taxman off his back.

But first, he has to get the mayor’s conservative wife, Patricia (Zeta-Jones in shoulder pads – gasp!) to stop petitioning for the Bourbon Room to be shut down.

Alex’s right-hand man, Lonny (Brand), lives for rock music so he is happy to shut Patricia up.

All in all, you’ll recognise a lot of the tunes – I Love Rock ’n’ Roll, Wanted Dead or Alive, We Built This City – and will be tempted to sing along. The cuteness is in the kitsch and cliché parts like the gaze between lovers who go to the record store together.

If you hate it when people burst into song mid-sentence then you’ll probably hate Zooey Deschanel. But I digress. This is one for musical lovers and those not too precious about the original Rock of Ages.

If you liked the remakes of the Fame and Footloose films then you’ll like this.

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