James Dempsey: Don't Stop Believing? Well I stopped believing in Rock of Ages almost from the first riff
YOU know how it goes; you’ve heard it more times than you can remember. It opens with a piano, the right hand setting the pace with an infectious beat that will carry right till the end, the left hand sweeping and building up to those immortal opening lines. There’s a small town girl, there’s a city boy, taking late night train journeys with some sort of open-ended rail pass. When it comes to pop culture, Journey’s 'Don’t Stop Believing' goes on and on and on and on.'
Just as it has come to dominate karaoke bars and wedding bands, it seems hard to escape the smell of wine and cheap perfume on screen as well, and unsurprisingly it features heavily in the new jukebox musical, Rock of Ages, released nationwide last Friday. The film, starring Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta Jones, Russell Brand and Paul Giamatti, based on the Broadway musical, is a celebration of big-haired anthemic 80s’ rock, mashed up, choreographed and directed by Adam Shankman, the man behind a number of forgettable comedies, but who successfully brought Hairspray to the silver screen in 2007.
For me, the film didn’t really work; the songs are rendered too clean and polished, particularly when sung by ingénue lead and country-star Julianne Hough, whose voice is cloyingly sweet when wrapping itself around the classic rock of Whitesnake, Foreigner and Bon Jovi.