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Rock of Ages
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: June 15, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: October 9, 2012
- Cast: Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise
- Director: Adam Shankman
- Studio: New Line
- Genre: Musical
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 120 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking, and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.