Movie Critics Split Over ‘Fun Music’ And ‘Bad Storytelling’ For Rock Of Ages

Rock Of Ages is a highly successful Broadway musical but when it comes to transforming the stage production into a blockbuster movie critics seem to be in agreement that it is a big flop despite some rather impressive performances, including a spot held down by Tom Cruise.

Manohla Dargis of the New York Times goes after director Adam Shankman, claiming that he “has vacuumed his rock-scene simulacrum of anything recognizably rock, including the lust, juice, heat, bad behavior, and excesses that characterize its real-life analogue” and “It looks like Disneyland and sounds, well, like a bad Broadway musical, with all the power belting and jazz-hand choreography that implies.”

That lack of “heart” in the movie is echoed by Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian who notes that the movie is a “sentimentalized and weirdly humorless movie—targeted at the middle-aged at heart,” while he says the movie has the perfect titles because “The irony may not be intentional. It really does go on for ages.”

On the other hand Slate found the movie had “much to enjoy” especially in the performance of Tom Cruise who “goes to a deep, dark, almost deliberately repellent place I’m not sure he’s ever been before.”

The movie of course is really about rock and roll with its Bon Jovi rocking, Journey rolling beats so what did Rolling Stone have to say about the movies transformation from Broadway to tinsel town? Peter Travers found the movie to be “hugely enjoyable” which was only “saved by its music, a tasty brew drawn from Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi.”

As Travers points out “It’s near impossible not to rock along” which of course doesn’t necessarily make for the best movie if it’s not supported by a strong cast of actors.

Here’s the Rock of Ages movie trailer in case you have yet to see it: