Now this is what one terms as a niche film. Frankly, not all cine-goers can be expected to be the lovers of rock, especially the one that was in vogue during the 80s. In that context, it has been a gamble of sorts on the part of makers to have made 'Rock of Ages' and also place it as a rather expensive affair. Of course to pad the film's fortunes, there is a huge presence of Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones. So even though they form a part of the film instead of being a film itself, there is something to look forward to every 15 minutes in this rather long drawn affair that is quite lengthy at least by Hollywood standards.
The film is more about youngsters Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough. Starry eyed and looking at making a career in the world of rock, they are strugglers for whom the ultimate destination is Hollywood. Of course just as is the graph followed in movies belonging to this genre, there is hope, aspiration, struggle, ridicule and some euphoric moments involved that do promise an end that would be heart warming as well as enticing. The well needed ingredient to spice up the affair comes in the form of Cruise and Zeta-Jones who have an agenda of their own.
So while Cruise, in a rare rockstar avtar and stealing the show all over again, is the one who could perhaps be the man to get the rock on for all ages, there is Zeta-Jones who wants it all to come to an end due to amoral values being propagated. Well, she has a reason for that because the film pretty much brings in the 80s ingredients with rock-n-roll, sex and drugs adding on the narrative.
Thankfully though, none of that makes you cringe on screen and while the proceedings may be termed as sleazy by many, the fact that it doesn't seem all murky and disturbing (as is the case with many films delving upon a similar subject) and instead take an enjoyable path is what makes 'Rock of Ages' reasonably watchable. So while there are moans and bosom heaving girls filling up the frames at regular intervals, there is a cool Cruise literally cruising the scenes with his rockstar 'avtar' and that too in the times when he is still fresh in everyone's memory as Ethan Hunt.
Of course there is good support that comes from the likes of Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand who thankfully don't make a caricature of themselves and instead present a rather humorous account that does manage to bring on the smiles. In fact it is this very endeavour of director Adam Shankman to keep the smiles and excitement on as he peppers the narrative with numerous songs from the era gone by. Yes, it does appeal more to the rock-lovers who still cherish the memories of the era gone by. However the flipside is that the film ends up appealing mainly to this niche audience, hence largely alienating the rest.
Even otherwise, since the core plot of the film is quite pencil thin and the focus is on rock shows dominating the proceedings, it all is more suited for a Broadway Musical (from where it comes) instead of a big screen outing. This means for many it may all seem like an extended dekko at the MTV channel with one song coming after another (which by the way is the very USP of the film with Cruise as a definite value add) in a couple of hours duration. Now for this very segment of audience, which is rather large, one can't really anticipate a sense of euphoria even during the best of on-screen concerts.
Watch it mainly if you are a hardcore rock fan. If you are stepping in as Tom Cruise-Catherine Zeta-Jones fans, be aware of the fact that 'Rock of Ages' isn't one of their quintessential affairs.