Rock of Ages

 
Musical has more glam than grit, except for drinking.
  • Review Date: June 14, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

Except for the first uncomfortable 15 minutes, when you'll 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 -- ROCK OF AGES is an entertaining romp through 1980s rock. 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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 15, 2012
DVD release date: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

This review of Rock of Ages was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous October 9, 2012
age 17+
 

good movie

overall great entertainment!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byTiberius01 June 16, 2012
age 18+
 

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 been R and not PG-13. Children should not see this movie. My husband and I left a little over halfway through the movie and we weren't the only ones. There was adulterous kinky sex, mock masturbation, mock oral sex, group sex (shows the before or aftermath), sex on pool table, grabbing breasts, many instances of vulgar gestures or comments. There was something in every scene. I couldn't believe it. I don't know why a parent's review on here would be positive about the movie. I wouldn't let my 18 year old niece go, let alone a 13 year old! OH! And all of the stuff I listed are only the parts I watched. I had my eyes closed half the time and just tried to enjoy the 80's music, but everytime I opened them I would see something just awful again. If you hold a pretty descent standard for your child I know you won't want them to see this. Unfortunately, it's attractive because of all the hype that comes from having so many known actors and being able to walk down memory lane with some of your favorite 80's songs. It's not worth it! Just listen to some music on your itunes.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written by500090 June 17, 2012
age 18+
 

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 your child of any age. Super suggestive sex scenes that pretty much act out oral sex, and many other acts. Even my 13 yr old said "this isn't for me".
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bythreeisenough June 26, 2012
age 18+
 

18 and up minimum. Fun, but completely obscene.

I can't believe Common Sense reviewed this as ok for any children. It absolutely is not. Disturbing are the number of children reviewing this who seem to think it's fine. Language is bad enough, but the sex is as explicit as it can get without actual genitalia giving a movie an X or NC17 rating. I have no idea how this movie managed a PG13 rating. Hilarious and fun. Sure, but for adults only. Any one of at least 6 or 7 scenes in this movie should have gotten it an R rating, much less all of them. Common sense needs to have more apparently. Thank God I went to IMDB parent advisory for details before I brought my 13 year old and her friend. The great thing about IMDB parent advisory is they give you objective information detail by detail so you can make your own choice, rather than a paragraph saying it's "fun and campy with language." If I had trusted that, I would have been even more upset than I am now.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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