By Sandra Kraisirideja
“Rock of Ages” celebrates ’80s rock ‘n’ roll in all its spandex glory with songs from performers who defined the era: Poison, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Def Leopard, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Bon Jovi, Foreigner, and Journey.
The movie is based on the musical of the same name. which has been running on Broadway since 2009. Among the original Broadway cast was Constantine Maroulis, who was a contestant on the fourth season of “American Idol,” the year Carrie Underwood won.
“Rock of Ages” the movie stars country singer Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta and a high-profile ensemble cast including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Malin Akerman.
All of the actors perform their own songs—some more convincingly than others—but everyone has an unabashed enthusiasm that feeds into the movie’s energy. The chemistry between Hough and Boneta and their incredible singing talent really carry the movie.
At times “Rock of Ages” is utterly ridiculous and over-the-top, which is exactly how ’80s rock ’n’ roll was presented via MTV and in the live clubs on Sunset Strip.
The songs dutifully represent the ’80s era and it’s great that not only rock anthems are used but also power ballads and head bangers. These are the songs that were sung on hot summer nights while driving down the road with your friends with the windows rolled down. Fans of these songs will immediately go home and load up their iTunes library with any ones that are missing from their library.
I personally added “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake and “Nothin’ But a Good Time” by Poison and was shocked I didn’t have more Poison songs in my library.
Make no mistake, “Rock of Ages” is very much a musical. Anybody expecting to see something along the lines of “Almost Famous” or “That Thing You Do,” which only featured musical performances, will be in for a shock.
In “Rock of Ages” the characters break out into spontaneous song as a way to express their thoughts and emotions during a particular scene. This isn’t for everyone and the man sitting next to me would audibly groan each time he felt a song coming on. It’s probably best to leave your male partners at home and make it a girls night out.
“Rock of Ages” opens nationwide in theaters and IMAX on June 15.