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Picks and Pans Main: Movies

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Rock of Ages

Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin | PG-13 |


“So, is Rock of Ages basically Glee for grown-ups?” a friend sneered. “Sure,” said I, “but how is that a bad thing?” With its stars constantly bursting into power ballads, Rock may well be the most ridiculous two hours you spend in a theater this year-and if you can resist singing along you’re made of sterner stuff than I am.

Arguably, the film is about fresh-off-the-bus Sherrie (Hough) and city kid Drew (Diego Boneta), aspiring singers working in a Los Angeles club. But who cares about milquetoast moppets when Tom Cruise (see page 124) writhes onstage as aging star Stacee Jaxx, ripped and scuzzy in all the right ways, belting out “Pour Some Sugar on Me?” Holy hair metal, kids, Cruise is a rock god, lifting the film with both his sticky performance and his commitment to the silly. Rock is at its best when it focuses on vets like Baldwin and Russell Brand as bromantic club bosses, Catherine Zeta-Jones as a vengeful holy roller trying to destroy the venue, and Paul Giamatti as Jaxx’s oily manager, all gamely (and credibly) crooning tunes by Journey, Bon Jovi and Poison. One bit of advice, though: If the Rock spirit moves you, update your iPod with the original hits.