, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin | PG-13 |
"So, is Rock of Ages basically Glee for grown-ups?" a friend sneered. "Sure," said I, "but how is that a bad thing?" With its stars constantly bursting into power ballads, Rock may well be the most ridiculous two hours you spend in a theater this year-and if you can resist singing along you're made of sterner stuff than I am.
Arguably, the film is about fresh-off-the-bus Sherrie (Hough) and city kid Drew (Diego Boneta), aspiring singers working in a Los Angeles club. But who cares about milquetoast moppets when Tom Cruise (see page 124) writhes onstage as aging star Stacee Jaxx, ripped and scuzzy in all the right ways, belting out "Pour Some Sugar on Me?" Holy hair metal, kids, Cruise is a rock god, lifting the film with both his sticky performance and his commitment to the silly. Rock is at its best when it focuses on vets like Baldwin and Russell Brand as bromantic club bosses, Catherine Zeta-Jones as a vengeful holy roller trying to destroy the venue, and Paul Giamatti as Jaxx's oily manager, all gamely (and credibly) crooning tunes by Journey, Bon Jovi and Poison. One bit of advice, though: If the Rock spirit moves you, update your iPod with the original hits.
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PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING
It's fun to see Jane Fonda parodying herself as aged hippie Grace-just don't expect more. As pleasant as Peace is, it's also formulaic, with Grace's estranged daughter Diane (Catherine Keener) bringing the grandkids for a visit whens her marriage collapses. We'll get pot and protests but no good answers as to why mom and daughter fell out.
YOUR SISTER'S SISTER
Iris (Emily Blunt), half sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) and friend Jack (Mark Duplass) accidentally meet at the sisters' cabin, where Jack and lesbian Hannah drunkenly hook up. The result is a funny, honest film about love-platonic, sisterly and otherwise. Sister is talky and claustrophobic, but the closeness lets the performances stand out.
YOU PLAY ADAM SANDLER'S SON IN THAT'S MY BOY. DESTINY?
He's been my hero since seventh grade. Our names are so similar. I used to do stand-up, and they'd say, "Adam Sandlerberg!" As an inside joke on SNL, I started calling myself Adam Sandwich. There is no one I would rather be mistaken for.
WHAT IS A SANDLER-SAMBERG SHOOT LIKE?
It was basically me sitting two feet away from him gazing at him lovingly. I was nervous at first. It was the same when I first started working at SNL. I was like, "If I can make Lorne Michaels laugh, my life will be made." Then, once you do it, it's like a drug. [So] all I wanted to do all summer was make Sandler laugh.
DID YOU EVER LIVE THE STUDENT-TEACHER FANTASY LIKE ADAM'S CHARACTER IN THE FILM?
I definitely threw my hat in the ring a few times. Like, "Hey, if you wanna deflower a little nerd, I'm open season." But it never went down.
WHAT IS ADAM LIKE AS A DAD?
In real life, he's a really sweet dad-it's actually kind of crazy. His vibe in this movie is so crass and dirt-baggy, but when you see him with his daughters he's a heart melter.
SO YOU'RE LEAVING SNL. WHAT'S NEXT?
I'm doing a comedy called Cuckoo on BBC. I play an American who marries a British girl. The dream is to have my own production company, the way Sandler does with his buddies.