Saturday, June 16, 2012

Noizes Off (film Review: Rock Of Ages)

So here's the thing: I kind of understand why "Rock Of Ages" is a hit on Broadway. It has the nostalgia element to the now middle-aged 80s fans, and is a perfect show for the bridge-and-tunnel crowd (sorry to be a snob, but 'tis true) Plus, they serve drinks so it dulls the edge for most theatergoers. And yes, I understand why they did a movie: it's kind of campy, it's tuneful, it's bombastic. It's a simple show, with simple dreams, and it is loud enough to get your attention. But why oh why did they cast the dull-as-cardboard Juliana Hough as the female lead? Let me just be blunt: she has a bland presence, and she.cannot.act. At. all. No amount of false eyelashes and big hair can make her appealing, and she ultimately brings the whole movie crumbling. Diego Boneta, as her love interest is dead on arrival, no matter how much he tries to resuscitate their scenes. There is great amusement to be found in Tom Cruise's Stacee Jaxx, and I sometimes have to wince to see if that actor on screen is really Tom Cruise. It's a showy part, but it never felt overblown, because Cruise gives it a sly subtle wink while wearing assless chaps. Catherine Zeta Jones plays her "Tipper Gore" role superbly because she doesn't take the whole thing seriously.Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand are great character decorations. The musical scenes are sung well, but I hear auto-tune. They are photographed and choreographed chock full of cliches, though, and the movie is overly long, with too much emphasis on book scenes that go nowhere. I came into this movie with an open mind despite the fact that I am not a fan of the Broadway show, but as I came out of the movie theater, I gained a new found appreciation of the one playing at The Helen Hayes Theater. 

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