By Claire Holden and Hannah Hulme
After the dizzying success of the West End run of Rock of Ages, we settled into our seats just waiting to be transported back to the golden era of glam rock, but we left the theatre feeling as conflicted as the film was.
A heady mix of 80s rock classics and Glee-esq vocals combined with huge hair and tight leathers took our understanding of cheese to a new level.
From the director of Hairspray, Adam Shankman, it’s a story of girl meets boy meets the world of rock. Sherrie (Julianne Hough) tumbles off the Greyhound from Oklahoma and onto the dangerous and indulgent streets of Hollywood.
She – somewhat suspiciously – lands herself a job waitressing in a legendary rock-spot alongside fellow wannabe singer Drew (Diego Boneta). Cue the montage to appropriate falling-in-love rock ballads.
As with all love stories there is always a twist and that twist comes in the form of Tom Cruise’s character Stacee Jaxx and his writhing pants.
The story follows Jaxx as he gambles with his career, and the nightclub owner who is struggling to save his floundering business in the face of a political campaign to clean up the city by the Mayor’s wife , played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.
A plethora of well-known classics litter the plot including songs from the likes of Poison, Foreigner, Twisted Sister and, naturally, Journey.
The songs, although well selected, are often overproduced and auto-tuned, killing the soul of the original tracks, but admittedly never failing to get our toes tapping.
Stealing the limelight, Cruise makes for a surprisingly convincing rocker. With genuine moments of comedic brilliance and plenty of charisma, he even makes us feel sorry for his troubled, womanising, whisky-drinking character.
Russell Brand too, despite his unusual take on a Brummie accent, was made for his role as glam rocker and nightclub worker, Lonnie.
He comprises the second half of an unlikely duo with Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin), who provided a break from the thick of the plot with the development of their interesting relationship dynamic - with hilarious results.
Boneta is solid but forgettable as Sherrie’s love interest and 13-year-old girls across the country will probably be plastering pictures of his baby face on their bedroom walls as you read this.
But Hough’s portrayal of protagonist Sherrie left us with a sickly sweet aftertaste, (but that could just be down to the handfuls of pic n’ mix we scoffed).
Had they not been necessary for the advancement of the plot, we could have done without this candyfloss couple.
The combination of this High School Musical couple, parent-pleasing glam rock tunes and the occasional raunchy strip-club scene left us wondering who the target audience for this film really was.
The end of the film rounds off each character’s journey neatly and, although not changing our lives forever, the immortal words of film favourites Poison ring true, as we had ‘nothin’ but a good time’.
Check out the trailer for Rock of Ages below: