A routine plot and paper-thin characters mean your enjoyment of this musical depends largely on how much you like popular 80s rock. The majority of the sequences are entertainingly inventive, incorporating song elements in a cinematic way – so fear not for the trap a lot of stage adaptations fall into. By contrast, some songs are nothing more than a series of glamour shots, which is problematic, not to mention awkward, since the film elsewhere satirises the rock star persona (a decent Tom Cruise) and its relationship to the media, fans (in pretty misogynistic fashion) and The Man, leaving an unpleasant taste. The film is meant to be pastiche as well as celebration. The latter rings hollow.
For the most part, though, the film is bouncy and energetic, with a lead duo that matches an array of stars in prettiness and dazzle (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston feature). You’ll wish the third act didn’t spend quite so long going through the motions (as a witty line went, it goes on and on and on…), but overall the flick is probably best described as a harmless way to spend a couple of hours.