Sherri (Julianne Hough) is the proverbial good girl who longs to make it big. To be sure, when the movie opens she is literally "just a small-town girl living in a lonely world on a midnight train going anywhere." Once on the Sunset Strip, her sundress and sunny disposition set her apart, and her prized suitcase full of albums is stolen almost as soon as she steps off the train. That's when Drew (Diego Boneta) comes to the rescue. A barback at the Bourbon, he gets her a job there waiting tables, much to the annoyance of crusty owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin). She's a singer, he's a singer, and it isn't long before they're making goo-goo eyes in between serving drinks. Meanwhile, Dennis and his right-hand man and very special friend Lonny (Russell Brand) book larger-than-life and out-of-control rock god Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) to rescue the Bourbon from bankruptcy. But Stacee comes with baggage in the form of his conniving manager Paul (Paul Giamatti), idealistic Rolling Stone reporter Constance (Malin Akerman), and the mayor's wife Patty (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who will stop at nothing to expunge him and his ilk from her fair city. Inevitably, Sherri and Drew are mixed up in the maelstrom and eventually forced to find out what achieving fame really means.
Rock of Ages balances the badass with the sentimental and even the silly, often laughing at its own overblown homage to 1980s extravagance. The fashion is fabulous, from Patty's prissy pastels to Stacee's most libidinous leather, and the pop culture references keep the camp coming. But it is, of course, the nonstop rock of power ballads and arena anthems that make you feel as if you're at the concert of the decade.