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By: Jeffrey Ford
By: Jeffrey Ford

Previews of Rock of Ages and That's My Boy

After the one, two punch from Prometheus and Madagascar 3 last week, the theaters are taking a small breather this summer.  On deck are a Broadway production and an Adam Sandler comedy, both of which have not been getting good reviews.  First up to the plate, we travel back to a time when headbands, Members Only jackets and leggings were considered fashionable.  I’m talking about the glorious 1980’s.

 ROCK OF AGES

 A small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip, while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. *

The “Decade of Decadence” takes center stage to rock out this week.  The Broadway smash hit arrives courtesy of director Adam Shankman (The Pacifier, Cheaper by the Dozen 2) and stars Tom Cruise (Losing It), Alec Baldwin (Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Blue Juice) and Russell Brand (St. Trinian’s), among many others.  They’ll be rocking out to the tunes from Journey, Night Ranger, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison and many other hair metal bands that populated the landscape of the 80’s.

My main problem though is the soundtrack is not by the original artists.  Seeing as it’s a based on a musical, the actors themselves will be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to the vocals, and that is not a good thing.  One of the aspects I love about the bands and songs of that era are how much they are awesomely bad.  These are not world class songs.  They have simple and repetitive riffs, the lyrics would fail most high school poetry classes, the vocals are far from anything remotely resembling good and the artists are more interested in the spectacle than conveying any real meaning.  However, their over the top approach to the material masks almost all of the deficiencies that are inherent in the music.  Trust me when I say that I count 80’s hair bands as one of my favorite types of music.  I rock out to 80’s on 8 over the satellite every weekend.

 

Now we have the musical tribute that is this movie.  As hard as the filmmakers may try to get the trappings right, it will still only come off as slightly better than average karaoke.  You can’t replace the likes of Dee Snyder, Steve Perry, Jon Bon Jovi and Axel Rose with Tom Cruise and Russell Brand.  The actors are pretenders to the throne of awesome.  The snippets I’ve heard from the soundtrack have not quelled my initial misgivings.  I’m afraid they are driving the material from awesomely bad to just plain bad.  Since that is the major hook of the film, it is not on my initial set list.  Instead, I’ll slip on my Jams and Bang my Head to a measly 2 out of 5.  Rock of Ages is rated PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking, and language.

THAT’S MY BOY

While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd's 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd's world comes crashing down. *

Dear Adam Sandler,

 Stop making movies.  Thank you.

 1 out of 5

 That’s My Boy is rated R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use.

That will do it for this week.  Stay tuned for next time when we bravely take on vampires with a former president.  Until then, we’re motoring.

*All movie summaries taken from IMDB.com

 

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