FILM FANS: 'Rock of Ages' good for music, nothing else

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Rock of Ages." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 out of 4 stars

If you're ready for a very silly piece that borders on sheer stupidity at times, this is the movie for you. In addition, if you are not at least 35 years old, don't waste your time, as even the songs will not be recognized. Plus the movie's plot is very predictable from there. This movie is a weird contraption that adopts a "Glee" mentality and drives it solidly into the ground.

But the movie has a killer cast for sure, which though wasted in a maze, adds what little the movie offers. Most noteworthy of all is the magical screen presence that Julianne Hough provides. Her talent, beauty and clever style will open up many other opportunities for her for sure. Therefore, my advice is to avoid this true enigma unless you simply want to enjoy the music.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn

2 stars

I went into "Rock of Ages" fully expecting and even wanting the cheese factor. And while I wasn't disappointed there, what I was disappointed in was the fact that, at times, I felt like the filmmakers were skewering the very era they were asking us to embrace rather than pay homage to it. The film's shift in tone undercuts the fun that it could have been. It starts out strong, but then feels like a parody of a movie musical.

The story follows Christian, a small town girl who moves to L.A. to pursue fortune and fame, Drew, a bartender/musician doing the same thing, and Stacee Jaxx, lead singer for a huge rock band. The bar where she's just gotten hired is about to go under and the solution is to get Jaxx to play.

While the storyline is thin, the one thing that should be its saving grace is the music. The problem is it feels more like one of those bad compilation albums you see on TV at 1 a.m. The genres get mixed and the songs never really fit together. You have to wonder what Tom Cruise -- so brilliant in "Tropic Thunder" -- was thinking.

-- Ron Adams, Statham

2 and 1/2 stars

Big hair. Big songs. Even bigger musical productions and dance numbers. Rock 'n' roll will never die ... or so goes the story of "Rock of Ages."

Based on the stage musical of the same name, "Rock of Ages" melds the story of small-town girl meets city boy, a plethora of rock songs of the '80s and spins an amusing yarn that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Sherrie (Julianne Hough) takes the bus to Los Angeles and soon encounters Drew (Diego Boneta), who works at local rock spot, The Bourbon Club, as a waiter. Both have aspirations of a better life -- she as a Hollywood actress, he as a singer-songwriter. No new ground broken thus far. What makes "Rock of Ages" really shine though, is the rest of the cast that form the backdrop of this romance in the making. The year is 1987 and rock music has reached its acme. Heavy metal is giving way to grunge and boy bands, yet diehard rockers are still hangin' tough. Chief of these is frontman Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), who is leaving his band Arsenal to embark on a solo career that will launch at The Bourbon Club. Trouble is, Jaxx is just starting to realize how fried out he is from the life of being a rock god. Aiding and abetting him are his agent (Paul Giamatti), who is already grooming new acts to replace Jaxx. The club itself is financially on the ropes, thanks to the inept ownership of burned-out rockers Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonnie (Russell Brand). The mayor's wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) leads a grassroots protest by Mothers Against Drunk Rockers and Jaxx is in her cross-hairs. Let the music begin!

If you love rock music, especially '80s acts like Def Leppard, Journey, etc., you'll have a ball with "Rock of Ages." If you don't, well, just kick back and enjoy the long, strange trip it's on.

-- Myra Simons, Buford