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Movie Review: 'Rock of Ages' -- 2.5 stars

Tom Cruise stars in "Rock of Ages." (David

Tom Cruise stars in "Rock of Ages." (David James) Credit: David James

Rock of Ages
2.5 stars
Directed by Adam Shankman
Starring Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand
Rated PG-13

The hit Broadway musical "Rock of Ages" comes to the big screen in a new star-studded adaptation. If you've never seen the show and you're wondering whether you should bother with the movie, ask yourself this: How much do I want to see Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and other big names sing the songs of '80s rock icons?

If the thought fills you with nerve-tingling excitement, you'll love every leopard-printed minute of this movie. Seriously.

If you're not thrilled, or at least intrigued, by the notion, be advised: The movie must be avoided in the same way Cruise's glam-metal character Stacee Jaxx avoids haircuts. That's because the vivacious but shallow flick from director Adam Shankman offers nothing beyond the spectacle of Cruise et al. exhorting you to "pour some sugar" on them.

The film - a kitschy tribute to the glories of West Hollywood's Sunset Strip during the hair-metal era - embraces every cliche in the book. It's 1987, and small-town girl Sherrie (Julianne Hough) gets off the bus on Hollywood Boulevard. With stars in her eyes, she meets city boy Drew Boley (Diego Boneta), who gets her a job waitressing at a Strip institution called the Bourbon Room.

Of course, the plot - which involves the alcoholic rock star Jaxx being asked to save the Bourbon Room from financial ruin - doesn't matter. It's just an excuse for Shankman to segue into one hit after another, often incorporating cross-cutting between multiple characters in an apparent bid to involve all of his A-listers. The stars go so tongue-in-cheek they're practically winking at us.

But, obviously, the acting isn't the draw here - it's the singing. Cruise, who convincingly mimes the vocal intonations of the Axl Rose type, and Boneta show off the sharpest chops.

At the end of the day, though, this isn't really a movie. It's a collection of covers. And if it's possible to have a decent time at "Rock" even if you don't love hair metal, you can't help but be struck by the emptiness of it all. 

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