Rock of Ages

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Rock of Ages Movie Poster Image
Musical has more glam than grit, except for drinking.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 120 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 45 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Drew is hoping to make it as a rock singer in Los Angeles, but he loses track of his identity when a slimy manager tries to remake him into whatever might sell. His girlfriend's faith helps him rediscover himself and salvage a budding musical career that was almost scuttled by a detour into boy-band territory.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stacee Jaxx is the epitome of an aging rock legend who's become a self-absorbed diva, his manager is a complete sleaze, and the anti-rock activist is a hypocrite with a secret past. But on the other hand, the young couple at the heart of the film is seeking love and the true spirit of rock 'n' roll, and the brusque-yet-kind nightclub owner is certain that good music will redeem all of his problems.

Violence

Some heated arguments and one powerful slap when a guy says something especially spiteful to his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. Bouncers sometimes throw people out of nightclubs, and a few bodyguards growl menacingly. A pet baboon throws things at people he dislikes.

Sex

Lots of suggestive scenes, exaggerated cleavage, and innuendo throughout, including scenes that suggest couples are about to or have just finished having sex. In one scene a couple is passionately kissing when a bunch of packaged condoms fall on them. A rock legend is almost constantly surrounded by scantily clad groupies writhing suggestively. He frequently greets women by groping their chests and passionately seduces a music journalist in a scene that features plenty of implied activity and a woman in her underwear, but no graphic nudity. Opposite- and same-sex couples kiss romantically, while others kiss with so much excess tongue activity that it's clearly played to be way over the top. A cocktail waitress at a strip club must endure unwanted touches from her customers; eventually, she considers dancing herself.

Language

Language includes one "f--k," plus "s--t," "ass," "crap," "hell," "damn," "suck," "t-ts," "oh my God," and "blow me." One character flips his middle finger.

Consumerism

Visible brands/products include Greyhound buses and Budweiser beer. The sets are filled with signage for brand names, and many well-known Los Angeles businesses are shown. Many famous rock bands are name-checked, often by showing their albums.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No smoking or drugs (a bit of a surprise in a movie about rock stars), but lots of drinking. Much of the film takes place in nightclubs where many people are drinking, and some get quite drunk. A rock legend is almost always wasted; his preferred drink is scotch, straight from the bottle.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rock of Ages is based on a Broadway musical comedy about rock 'n' roll, of which there is plenty (particularly heavy-metal hits from the '80s). There's also a lot of drinking, especially by an often-wasted star whose favorite drink is scotch, straight from the bottle, but no drugs or smoking. Words like "s--t" and "ass" are used (plus one "f--k"), and there are many suggestive scenes (think writhing, willing groupies and strip clubs) -- though there's no graphic nudity, and the sex scenes are more choreographed dance than erotica. The star-studded cast includes Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Russell Brand.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTiberius01 June 16, 2012

NOT a movie for children

I'm surprised and disapointed at how common sense reviewed this movie. There are so many foul and distasteful sex scenes and inuendos that it should have... Continue reading
Adult Written by500090 June 17, 2012

Not for kids

This is not for kids. I'm not conservative at all, and I have no problem with the movie, but I can guarantee you, you will cringe if you watch this with y... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byPeopleschamp1995 August 15, 2012

It was kind of funny

It was good Not for young toddlers
Teen, 13 years old Written byharrypotter13 June 15, 2012

Nothin' but a good time...for kids 13 and up

It's PG-13, so it's meant for thirteen and up year olds. I'll give a description of things and scenes to watch out for if you're a parent of... Continue reading

What's the story?

Inspired by the same-named Broadway musical, ROCK OF AGES starts with sweet Sherrie (Julianne Hough), a Midwestern girl who hops on a bus to make her way to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune as a singer. Within minutes of arriving, she's mugged and then rescued by well-meaning Drew (Diego Boneta), who's currently a bartender at the Bourbon Room, a famed nightclub and music venue, but really wants to be a musician, too. The Bourbon's flailing under a wave of financial distress, its owner, Dennis (Alec Baldwin), and his sidekick (Russell Brand) at their wits' end. There's also the mayor's ultra-conservative wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who's gunning for the club. Enter Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), star of mega-band Arsenal, who's launching a solo career. His manager (Paul Giamatti) has promised to hold Stacee's first show at the Bourbon. Can Sherrie resist the pull of Stacee, her rock god? Will she and Drew ever make it -- in love and in music?

Is it any good?

ROCK OF AGES is an entertaining romp through 1980s rock, as long as you can overlook the first uncomfortable 15 minutes. You'll initially wonder whether you're in for a hokey cheese-fest that will have you feeling sorry for all of the big names who've signed up for this endeavor (that opening scene on the bus incites giggles, and not in a good way). It's all about managing expectations: Don't enter the theater expecting a profoundly moving experience, a la Billy Elliot. To start, it's campy, and the translation from Broadway to the screen can be awkward. But the music ("Pour Some Sugar on Me," "I Can't Fight This Feeling") is eminently sing-able. And most of the performances are winning. So before you know it, you're (sort of) won over.

The best part of the film is Cruise. As Stacee Jaxx, a mysterious, nebulous rock star oozing with sex appeal who's lost in the bounty of fame (but may want more), he's seriously appealing. Cruise, no surprise, commits entirely to the enterprise. He can slither, he can seduce, and he can sing! (He's almost too good, actually. Take that, naysayers!) Don't take Rock of Ages too seriously, and you'll have fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about rock music. Do you agree with some of the people in Rock of Ages who say that rock can inspire debauchery and wears away community morals? Or is it a means of self-expression that shouldn't be censored?

  • Do you think the rock star in the film is realistic? Do some musical legends live like this, surrounded by groupies and drunk most of the time? Or is this a stereotype?

  • How is drinking depicted in the movie? Are the consequences realistic?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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