Musicals are an acquired taste. You have to accept that the actors are going use any excuse to break in song. These Sesame Street moments can feel awkward to the unseasoned viewer. Some musicals, like Rock of Ages, take this feeling of awkwardness to a new and exciting level, making us recoil in discomfort. Here are a few of those “did that just happen” moments from ROA…
Brand and Baldwin gay moment: “Oh no. Please no.” That’s what most of us thought when over halfway through the movie, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin’s characters declare their love for one another through, you guessed it, song. This moment is uncomfortable not in its gayness, but because we’ve been given absolutely no indication that anything is going on between these two other than caustic banter. When they ended the song with a lip-lock you kind of have that scary movie, I-can’t-watch-this reaction.
The awkward pauses at the beginning of each song: Can you say clumsy transitions? Because many songs have some kind of musical lead-in, actors have to either stand idly or stare intently or find some other way to fill the time between the song’s intro and when the actor can actually start singing. You’ll quickly pick up on these voids. When you do, it’s fun to turn to your fellow movie-goer and say, “Don’t look now, but I think I feel a song coming on.”
The boy band video/stage performance: This is, in a word, painful. The lead male character, Drew, sells out to a slimy publicist, Paul, who convinces Drew that rock and roll is dead and he needs to join a boy band. Enter bad dance moves, poor wardrobe choices and cheese so thick you can cut it with a knife. This takes many of us back to a time in music we’d just as soon forget.
Any scene that Hey-Man was involved in: How can you tell if a script is weak? It uses monkeys or babies to generate laughs. Hey-Man, Stacee Jaxx’s monkey, is a disgusting little creature with attitude. When is Hollywood going to figure out that we are over monkeys and that the audience feels manipulated when a chimp or any chimp kin is used for cheap laughs? Monkeys, your 15 minutes are up.
Catherine Zeta-Jones’ dance routine in the church: The concept of church ladies singing and dancing to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” should have been funny. This scene was a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions, because Catherine Zeta-Jones and her church lady friends were trying to dance in ’80s skirt suits. You ever tried to kick with one of those skirts on? Holy bad wardrobe and choreography.