UPDATE: As the reviews continue to come in, so very many are from the deathly dry critics who are choosing to rip the movie apart. Look, not every movie has to be as deep as the ocean or tell a tale just as wide. It is a fun romp, a ride through an era of music that was at once both amazing and absurd. And for the record? Yes, I am 40 something, so the soundtrack is from my high school years, but I saw it with my 18 and 15 year old daughters and they loved every minute, too.
Years ago I came home from a showing of the musical turned movie musical, Mamma Mia. I said then that it was the kind of experience where you just have to let go and enjoy the ride.
I now add Rock Of Ages to that particular playlist.
It was a wheel of brie from start to finish, but it was the some of the best cheese I have ever had.
The soundtrack is pulled straight from the best years of my youth - the 80s - and handled ably by every member of this starstudded cast. Songs are vamped, mashed up, and used to move the storyline forward, but they never stray from their original roots and the singers deliver them home.
Julianne Hough has solidly left the glitter ball of DWTS behind for good. She is a star in her own right. Only two complaints - one, for a singer who has the ability to open up and wail, she uses her baby voice a lot, and two, quite frankly, no one should be allowed to have thighs like hers.
Diego Boneta is a dreamboat. He rocks, he rolls, he's sensitive. He's the boy you wanted to be in the backseat with when Journey played on the radio in high school.
Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, quite literally, steal the movie during their inevitable duet. I'll leave it to you to go see...
Catherine Zeta Jones plays uptight-twat-with-a-past like none other.
Paul Giamatti leaves the serious roles behind to slide into Rock of Ages as the oiliest of rock managers. He and his "rat tail" are a sight to behold.
Mary J. Blige can belt an 80s anthem and rock more wigs in 15 minutes than you would think is humanly possible.
Malin Ackerman - who knew she could sing, let along SING? - has some of the "bravest" scenes in cinema. Allowing Tom Cruise to sing into your ass crack? Maybe not Oscar worthy, but certainly an Asscar nominee.
Which brings us to Tom. Yes, he has his self inflicted reputation of nutjobbery when it comes to Scientology, but I give the man props - he can sing, and as Stacee Jaxx, as he did with Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder - HE. GOES. FOR. IT. In fact, it is his portrayal of a deeply lonely, desperate for true validation Jaxx that grounds this helium filled balloon. (Special props to him for donning assless chaps and a codpiece that must be seen to be believed.)
Do not go into this movie expecting War and Peace. This is Fun and Frolic. The music is a joyride, the storyline a simply fun romp, and the ending is smile inducing.
Seriously, we all had smiles, ear-to-ear.
So jump on your REO Speedwagon and take a Journey into the 80s. If you just let go, if you Wanna Rock, if you Don't Stop Believin', and if you are Lookin' For Nothin' But A good Time, then for a little over 2 hours, it will be Just Like Living In Paradise.
Oh Russell, Oh, Alec...