Directed by: Adam Shankman
Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston, Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise
Just for fun, let’s compare the 1988 music video of David Lee Roth’s “Just Like Paradise,” crammed with such visual wonders as an airborne surfboard, mountain climbing and Roth’s iconic high kicks, with brilliant musician Steve Vai performing blistering leads on a heart-shaped, triple-neck guitar … to Julianne Hough’s sweet ingénue Sherrie, crooning that same song as she walks down a cartoon candy-colored version of the Sunset Strip, circa 1987. Similarly, let’s compare director Adam Shankman’s 2007 rendition of Hairspray, witty and delicious, with knock-out performances … to Shankman’s 2012 Rock of Ages, a tepid encore at best. With a feeble script, uninspired choreography and songs that are solely covers, cobbled together from the glam-rock power bands of the ’80s, what – other than Tom Cruise’s portrayal of a dissipated rock god – makes Rock of Ages an original?
The short answer: Nothing. Not Alec Baldwin, doing his best to deliver hackneyed lines, sporting a gray wig that may well have been soaking in a pail of fetid water since 1987. Not Russell Brand, who tries to lift up the script singlehandedly by mumbling little jokes, barely audible, under his breath. Not Catherine Zeta-Jones, playing the over-the-top, anti-rocker zealot and wife of Bryan Cranston’s mayor. And certainly not Mr. Cranston who, until this point of his career, seemed incapable of turning in a poor performance (triple Emmy winner, Breaking Bad). But for some inexplicable reason, Shankman takes Cranston down buffoon alley. And when we witness a consummate actor served so poorly … the blame must boomerang back to the filmmakers.
The film’s plot, such as it is, hearkens back to hundreds, if not thousands of retreads. A talented young girl with stars in her eyes hops a bus for Dreamtown, U.S.A. She meets a nice, formless fellow who’s got big plans of his own. A few rough tumbles await them but fate will ultimately shine down on these two kids because, well, it’s Hollywood, gosh darn it, where all our wishes come true.
[For the full review and Kimberly's rating, please click here]