Rock of Ages isn't very rock 'n' roll; the adapted stage musical is more like "highly processed cheese," according to Slate's Dana Stevens. Still, it offers some impressive performances—especially from Tom Cruise as a hair-metal deity.
- Director Adam Shankman "has vacuumed his rock-scene simulacrum of anything recognizably rock, including the lust, juice, heat, bad behavior, and excesses that characterize its real-life analogue," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "It looks like Disneyland and sounds, well, like a bad Broadway musical, with all the power belting and jazz-hand choreography that implies."
- It's a "sentimentalized and weirdly humorless movie—targeted at the middle-aged at heart," notes Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian. "The irony may not be intentional. It really does go on for ages."
- But in Rolling Stone, Peter Travers calls the movie "hugely enjoyable." It's "saved by its music, a tasty brew drawn from Def Leppard, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi," and more. "It's near impossible not to rock along."
- "Once you accept the utter and profound inconsequentiality of Rock of Ages, there’s much to enjoy in it"—particularly where Tom Cruise is concerned, adds Stevens at Slate. "Cruise goes to a deep, dark, almost deliberately repellent place I’m not sure he’s ever been before."