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June 16, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CST
In a story built around face melters and jukebox jams Sherrie (Julianne Hough) rolls into Los Angeles from Tulsa, Okla. and just when she steps off the bus she meets Drew (Diego Boneta). He too is an aspiring musician who conveniently works at the grungiest, loudest, most popular club in the area, The Bourbon Room. Sherrie is new in town so Drew gets his boss to give her a job.
But the Bourbon Room ain’t that sweet. It hasn’t made any money in the past year to pay taxes and the mayor’s uptight wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is intent on ridding the city of rock n’ roll and all the immoral things associated with it.Related Movie
The plan is to make bank by featuring Rock God Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) and his band Arsenal in a final performance before Jaxx goes solo. Only, Jaxx and his greasy manager (Paul Giamatii) wreak a whole new kind of havoc on everything.
As the sense bandwidth in this story plummets the awkward output increases — make out sessions become grotesque and everyone wears fewer or skimpier clothes. The power ballads and rock anthems don’t really move the action forward, characters just happen to sing them.
Tom Cruise’s portrayal as Jaxx is his most unexpected role since Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. The typically clean-cut actor resembles a Guitar Hero avatar that’s part Brett Michael mixed with Ozzy Osboure’s inane ramblings. He shows up, boozed up, without a shirt, a care or a clue.
Cruise as Grossman worked, but Cruise as Jaxx doesn’t. As a washed up, indifferent, self-obsessed rock star Cruise tries to make Jaxx sarcastic and mysterious but his character is more likely to make audiences feel awkward and uncomfortable.
Adam Shankman, director of Hairspray, doesn’t get the pacing of the film quite right with unnecessary cutaways and misplaces montages. And this adaptation suffers from some of the same weaknesses as the source material. Mainly a plot that is as weak and stale as the day old beer likely served at the Bourbon Room.
It isn’t likely to hit a high note with viewers or the box office.