In his joyously vibrant comedy musical “Hairspray,” backing dancer-turned-Hollywood-movie-maker Adam Shankman transported us to 1962 Maryland, where racial segregation sadly ran rampant. In “Rock of Ages,” Shankman transports us to 1987 Los Angeles, where many things run rampant, not least of all the devil’s music – or rock and roll, to be less damning. Like his 2007 mega-hit, Shankman’s latest is a musical and sees its inspiration in the form of a critical darling of a broadway production. Unlike in “Hairspray,” the transition from stage to screen in “Rock of Ages” is not successful, or at least not nearly to the same extent that it was in “Hairspray,” in which the transition was almost seamless. Side note: “Hairspray” would be an appropriate title for “Rock of Ages,” in which the hairdo-sustaining liquid in a can is part of the air the characters breathe.
Slap-bang in the centre of the City of Angels stands a nightclub named “The Bourbon Room.” Frequented by long-haired headbangers and protested by outraged Christians, the Bourbon Room specialises in showcasing heavy metal and glam rock, and is owned by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”), who shares a touching bromance with his right-hand man, the appropriately named manager Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand, “Arthur”). The club is about to host a hotly anticipated, revenue-boosting gig by a world-famous rock star, but we’ll get to him later. (Continue Reading…)