Not rock-naughty, though; since the movie is locked into a kid-friendly PG-13 rating, there’s little of the debauchery associated with actual rockers. Cruise and Ackerman, panting with lust for each other, do what’s meant to be a steamy duet, but after he takes off his shirt and she strips down to her undies, they just stop and go their separate ways. Like most of Rock of Ages, it comes across as fake, tame and pre-processed for mass consumption. Not that a movie that thinks REO Speedwagon and “We Built This City” qualify as rock has the slightest idea what rock is really about.
Nor does Cruise, who is 20 years too old for this part (when was the last time you saw club-going kids get excited about a 50-year-old rocker?) and seems like more of a control freak than a wild man. The rabbit-fur coat and the cowboy hat can’t conceal the fact that Cruise takes himself way too seriously and approaches this part as hard work requiring intense concentration rather than a lark.
At one point Baldwin squeals, in the campy tone that fills every scene in this wretchedly misguided movie, “Taxes — they’re so un-rock-and-roll!” Yes, and here’s something else that’s un-rock-and-roll: show tunes. Guns ‘n’ Roses was never meant to sound like Guys and Dolls.