In the last musical I watched before Rock Of Ages, Meryl Streep ran towards Pierce Brosnan holding a red piece of cloth in the wind as if flying a kite. Mamma Mia! was packed with Abba songs and seemed worse than a Bollywood movie based on a wedding. It also reminded me of the songs of an atrocity called Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka that were shown on TV channels when we were too young to understand that aunties could be made fun of for watching that kind of stuff. I spent a sizable chunk of time thinking malmal was the name of the girl the lal dupatta belonged to, only to be informed later that it means muslin.
It can be slightly perplexing to review a film like Rock Of Ages, which has the portly Alec Balwin in longish hair gyrating in his nightclub clutching a shot of something in his fat hands, and Mary J Blige thrown in the movie for no apparent reason. Baldwin has a reason to cheer, of course: it’s the best night his nightclub which hosts rock shows has ever seen, and Poison‘s Nothin’ But A Good Time is blaring from everywhere.
Rock Of Ages has songs you’ve heard before (If you’re not a fan of rock and roll, do consider getting the fuck off this webzine.) and love; songs which broadcast the spirit of rock and roll – the music that never dies. It also endeavors to sell an ordinary love story – a rather hammy effort that was perhaps necessary to justify all the singing and dancing.
Tom Cruise, as rock god Stacee Jaxx, is part Nikki Sixx (read his name), part Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P, you idiots) and part Axl Rose (look at him). Cruise’s rockstar act is a treat, and Stacee Jaxx could teach a thing or two (or three or four) to our arse-licking, self-promoting ‘metal heroes’ that live on Facebook. Jaxx is drowning in babes and booze even though he hasn’t made a great song in years (no, you self-hawking bastards, this is not what you need to pick up – just watch the movie.), is living easily off his money and star power.
Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the mayor’s wife rallying against the ‘evil’ music. It’s obviously a shot at Tipper Gore, who made times difficult for some revered rock bands many years ago. Zeta-Jones is hilarious to look at as she dances and does the jhatkas and matkas with the other churchgoing ladies who want to put a stop to the ‘satanic’ menace of rock and roll – the music which is poisoning children.
There’s way too much singing and dancing in Rock Of Ages. Anyone unfamiliar with glam/hard rock with come out of the movie exhausted by the overdose, because there’s a song almost every two minutes, and that’s really cramming it a bit too much. But it’s easy to see why Abba fans loved Mamma Mia!… it’s all about the music, even though a sturdy plot would make a musical go a long way. Please refer to The Sound Of Music.
After over a decade of observing a scene now largely infested by pretenders, it sure feels good to hear an opening band being ordered to play three songs, no covers, and to get ready for their debut by starting their drinking session right then. Rock Of Ages is good for a few chuckles, and a few Motley Crue tracks would’ve made my day.