Top positive review
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More fun than expected - funny, good singing, and real star power from Tom Cruise
on June 7, 2012
I saw "Rock of Ages" in a sneak preview tonight, and was pleasantly surprised by the overall experience. I had not seen the stage production, but I've seen some other stage musicals converted to movies, and have been generally disappointed, sometimes appalled (I'm looking at you, "Mama Mia!")
Set in 1987, the general plot involves a pair of newcomers to Hollywood, trying to become rock stars, but finding the closest they can get is working in the hottest rock & roll club on the Hollywood Strip. From here, the story expands to include the owners of the club, a politician and his wife who are fighting the corrupting influence of rock music, and the biggest rock god on the planet, Stacee Jaxx, played by Tom Cruise.
The movie starts out pretty cheesy, and the first few numbers garnered some giggles from the crowd, but when Tom Cruise arrives, he kicks the entire show into high gear. Say what you will about him off screen, the man is a star onscreen, and does a phenomenal job in this role.
The music was pretty solid, with the rock songs of the 80s performed by the actors. In stark contrast to Mama Mia!, the songs here have been studio produced, and sound great, avoiding the bad karaoke effect such performances often have. For the most part, the actors are not known for singing (who knew Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin could sing? OK so maybe Baldwin wasn't the strongest singer, but still decent for his role...) Julianne Hough was likeable enough as the female lead, but surprisingly (considering a music career), her singing wasn't as good as some others.
The movie got progressively better, and was quite funny. But Tom Cruise carries this musical, and did so not only with very solid acting, but a shockingly decent rock and roll voice. Without him, this would have been an unremarkable show. With him, it is a fun movie that had people in the audience singing along with the film.