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Rock of Ages (DQ)


Stars: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Paul Giamatti, Mary J Blige, Bryan Cranston, Eli Roth

Director: Adam Shankman

I love Shankman's Hairspray but, if this rock musical is as dynamite on stage as everyone says, then Shankman has made a pig's ear of the film version.

Things start well, with I Love Rock 'n' Roll, which has even Baldwin and Brand joining in. But it all continues on the one blaring note.

Oklahoma girl Sherrie (Hough, whose accent sounds closer to Las Vegas) hits LA and is immediately robbed of her suitcase. She doesn't seem too concerned though, especially as passer-by Drew (Boneta) (who fails to chase a thief carrying a heavy case!) proves to be a barman at the notorious Bourbon club and gets her a job as a waitress, to the scepticism of Baldwin and Brand, who run the joint.

They're looking forward to the arrival of near-burntout rockstar Stacee Jaxx (a leering Cruise), whose coming gig may save the club from bankruptcy.

Meanqwhile, politician's wife Zeta-Jones plans to shut down the entire strip. 'Rock 'n' roll is a disease,' she grates, in the finest tradition of 1950s' movies, even though this one is set in 1987.

There's lots of talent on display here, and the singing is all fairly good if and when you can separate it from the general thunderous din. But the film seems to want to be raunchy more than it wants to be a musical, and most of its numbers are just jaggedly-edited, undisciplined messes - to say nothing of a truly embarrassing duet between Baldwin and Brand as both reveal they're gay.

How Zeta-Jones must have longed for the sleaze, wit and slickness of Chicago, which showed just how this sort of thing should be done.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers (New Line). Colour by FotoKem/Print by Technicolor.
123 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Jun 2012