Rock of Ages
123 mins / Dir. Adam Shankman
It's a rare thing that I'm utterly conflicted by a film, but Rock of Ages has managed it.
The Plot: Country-girl moves to L.A. to follow her dreams (ie, work in a bar), meets and falls for a young aspiring rock star working his way up the ladder (ie, working in a bar), but a rock legend threatens to derail their romance when he makes a return to the venue as a favour to an old friend (ie, he plays in a bar). Meanwhile, the righteous conservatives of the town have other ideas about what the young people of Hollywood should be pursuing (ie, they want to shut down the bar). Russell Brand works in the bar and sounds like someone from Birmingham who's having a stroke.
In short: I won't good/bad/ugly this one, as it's very simple: At two hours, it's too long. The plot is awful. The storytelling is awful. The acting is largely awful. Most of the humour falls flat on its arse. The script is fucking abysmal. The two young leads seem to somehow get more twee and less likeable as the movie goes on, like reverse character development. Catherine Zeta Jones is treating it like it's a pantomime. Tom Cruise is treating it like it's a midlife crisis. Malin Akerman is treating it like it's a paycheck. And last but not least, I know everyone else has mentioned this, but why is Russell Brand making that noise with his mouth?
But… I loved the musical arrangement, and most of the performances. Some of them don't quite work, and some should never have been done, but the ones that do make up for their failed counterparts. And the song-mashups? They're the thing that should offend me the most - as a rocker and an ex-all-out-metaller - but I like what they were doing. Ultimately, I can't say I didn't enjoy the film, but anything that wasn't set to music (and there was a frightening amount of that) is bloody awful.
30% of Rock of Ages is the best thing I've seen this year.
And the other 70% is the absolute worst.
So on some levels, it's...
But on others, it's…
I should really rate it a three or a four, but it's more complicated than that…
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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