Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Well, what I wanted to write is that the musical numbers make it all worthwhile. That they're joyfully decadent and nostalgic fun. That they take songs like 'Any Way You Want It' and 'Cum On Feel the Noize' and wire you into their suburban-rebel, trash-the-bedroom vibe. On stage, Rock of Ages sizzled and popped. But the film's director, Adam Shankman, who did such a great job of bringing the Broadway version of Hairspray to the big screen, is a lot less sure-footed when it comes to the postures and emotions of rowdy kick-ass Americana. Most of the numbers in Rock of Ages are flatly shot and choreographed, and they look as if they'd been edited together with a meat cleaver. With rare exceptions, they don't channel the excitement of the music — they stultify it.
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: If it’s possible for a cultural product to completely lack either authenticity or sincerity, and yet possess a joyful innocence, that product is the jukebox musical “Rock of Ages,” a Broadway hit that now reaches the big screen as a ludicrous summer entertainment from director and choreographer Adam Shankman. Now, I understand that some may find the premise of this picture thoroughly obnoxious: An odd collection of movie stars and pop icons — from Alec Baldwin to Russell Brand, and from Catherine Zeta-Jones to Mary J. Blige to the utterly uncanny Tom Cruise — hoofing, hooting and generally goofballing their way through a bunch of production numbers built around a random assortment of pop-rock hits from the ’70s and ’80s.
Guy Lodge, TimeOut: This is more plot than you strictly need to enjoy a film whose every scene is tenuously built around an infectious singalong of a 1980s soft-rock classic, from ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ to ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’. It’s ‘Glee’-filtered nostalgia, to be sure, and rocks about as hard as the Royal Variety Show, but as with Shankman’s knowingly naff ‘Hairspray’, the sheer performance gusto on display proves thoroughly winning. Cruise, wickedly cast as a mystic loon, is having more fun than he’s permitted himself in years, while everyone from Zeta-Jones to Mary J Blige to Russell Brand gets at least one moment to kick it on this most deliciously starry of karaoke stages.
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Let me state my bias right up front here: I cannot possibly dislike a movie in which Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, equipped with abundant '80s tresses, sing "I Love Rock & Roll" into a hairbrush. (For the record, I didn't know I had this bias until last night.) Later, they croon REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" to each other, and you wish these two had their own movie, or at least their own late-night talk show.
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