I predict that next spring the new musical film, Rock of Ages, will be "honored" at the 33rd Annual Razzie Awards with multiple nominations for being one of the worst cinematic experiences of 2012. I was hoping that it might turn out to be a "so bad it's good" guilty pleasure like 2010's Burlesque, but no such luck. Instead Rock of Ages, which tells the story of a young couple trying to become famous singers in 1987 Los Angeles, is just a really bad movie that I highly recommend avoiding. And here are a few more Razzie nominations that I believe this piece of celluloid crap deserves:
Worst Director: Adam Shankman
I enjoyed his 2007 film adaptation of the Broadway musical, Hairspray, but this time around his directorial talent is nowhere to be seen. And Bojan Bazelli's dimly lit cinematography and Emma E. Hickox's hyperactive editing makes Rock of Ages one ugly mess to watch.
Worst Screenplay: Justin Theroux, Chris D'Arienzo and Allan Loeb
I've always liked the handsome Mr. Theroux as an actor in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive and on TV's Six Feet Under, so I definitely think he needs to stick to acting instead of screenwriting. And I find it hard to believe that it took three people to write such an embarrassingly bad "comedy" devoid of any laughs (I think I smiled once at a somewhat amusing boy band reference). More than anything else, it's the script that stinks and sinks Rock of Ages.
Worst Supporting Actor: Russell Brand
I confess that I don't get the appeal of this guy, whom I've never found to be very funny. And his annoying comic relief role as the manager of the film's main location, The Bourbon Room nightclub, did not change my opinion.
Worst Supporting Actress: Catherine Zeta-Jones
While watching Ms. Zeta-Jones' ravenous scenery-chewing as the mayor's bitchy wife who wants to shut down The Bourbon Room, I decided that she would make a splendid Alexis in case someone ever remakes TV's Dynasty. I didn't hate her performance - and she gamely sings the hell out of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" - but she seemed to be starring in her own separate film with her over-the-top performance (and I wasn't surprised at all by her character's lame secret).
Worst Actor: Tom Cruise
When he's singing, Mr. Cruise is okay. But when he's acting as Stacee Jaxx, the pasty, sweaty, hungover rock star, he is not. I didn't enjoy watching him play this unpleasant character - and it certainly didn't help matters to give him an extremely irritating monkey called "Hey Man" as a sidekick (I assume this incredibly dumb idea was supposed to be amusing, but it isn't).
Worst Actress: Julianne Hough
I barely remember her in Burlesque, but less than two years later, she has starred in two major films, 2011's Footloose remake, and now Rock of Ages (as one of the aspiring young singers). Since both her acting and crooning made me cringe throughout the latter, I'm obviously missing her appeal - except as a pretty blonde. I think her talent belongs on Dancing with the Stars, where she is a two-time champion.
Worst Screen Couple: Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta
The 21-year-old Boneta is a handsome young man with a decent singing voice, but he and Hough make a very bland onscreen duo. I just didn't care about either of their characters or their insipid romance.
Worst Screen Ensemble
Almost every actor in the film has lowered themselves into the gutter to make this movie, but I did kind of like Alec Baldwin as the owner of The Bourbon Room - the guy can carry a tune! And singer Mary J. Blige is the only person who doesn't embarrass herself as the owner of a strip club. Unfortunately, she has very little to do in the film except offer a few comforting words of advice to Ms. Hough, whose character - of course - becomes a stripper.
Finally, I must mention one scene, which is a SPOILER (even though I'm telling you NOT to go see this movie): Brand and Baldwin's characters suddenly realize that they love each other and sing REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" before sharing a brief kiss. It's another "funny" scene that didn't make me laugh. I didn't care about them as a "gay" couple because the film doesn't care. Their relationship is quickly forgotten as we return to the boring young straight kids, Cruise and his ridiculous monkey and the hamming-it-up Zeta-Jones. Rock of Ages, which opens this Friday (June 15), is a cartoon filled with cardboard characters and zero laughs - and although some of the actors can sing fairly well, the music of Pat Benatar, REO, Journey, Foreigner and others will sound so much better if you just stay home and listen to the original artists on iTunes. The film's tagline is "Nothin' But A Good Time" - but trust me, you won't have one.
My Grade: D
Running time: 123 long minutes