Rock of Ages Review: Tom Cruise “Kills It as an Axl Rose Clone”

Tom Cruise  David James/Warner Bros. Pictures

In Theaters Now

Go ahead: Be skeptical of a leather chaps-clad Tom Cruise belting out hair-metal classics. But the star kills it as an Axl Rose clone in this ridiculously entertaining musical (based on the Broadway show).

In 1987, a small-town girl (Julianne Hough) arrives on L.A.'s seedy Sunset Strip and falls for a city boy (Diego Boneta, meh). Their love story takes a nosebleed seat to the exploits of Stacee Jaxx (Cruise), the hard-living, rule-breaking rock god at a crossroads in his life. "I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride," Cruise wails in "Wanted Dead or Alive," on of several head-banging numbers.

Julianne Hough/Warner Bros. David James

The '80s gaudiness is fully maximized, with all the actors — from Alec Baldwin (a weary bar owner) to Mary J. Blige (a strip club doyenne) — in on the campy jokes.

Alas, to quote Bret Michaels, every rose has its thorn: Here, the glamorous Catherine Zeta-Jones is miscast as an uptight protester who warbles Pat Benatar in a church. No matter. Raise the lighters in the air and rock out.

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