That's not to say this reaches the rare heights of one of the best comedies ever made, but it does share a healthy disregard for its subjects. Its delicate balance of air-guitar-thrashing sincerity and tongue-in-cheek should be regarded as a guilty pleasure.
Adapted from the Broadway stage musical, it's set in 1987 and centres on the romance between Drew and Sherrie, barman and waitress at LA rock venue The Bourbon Room. While this rather bland pair work through their boy meets girl/girl meets rock demigod/boy throws tantrum and sulkily joins boy band routine, we're much more interested in the people around them. These include the Bourbon's owner and diehard rock'n'roll fan Dennis Depree and right-hand man Lonny (Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, who make an oddly cute couple), the mayor's wife (Catherine Zeta Jones) who wants to clean LA's streets of the evil of rock, and legendary rocker Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) and his oleaginous manager (Paul Giamatti), both of whom impact on the young romance.
The tale is told through the hits of the period, by bands of the ilk of Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard – the posturing mainstays of mainstream radio stations and who we might think are best forgotten. But the songs are used to strong narrative effect and only the most contrary would deny the cheesily feel-good power of some of them.
Cruise, who proved himself a game bird in Tropic Thunder, is quite a sight as Jaxx – resplendent in leather trousers, cowboy hat and furs, an amalgam of such ripe rockers as Axl Rose, Jim Morrison and Keith Richards, people who have overdosed on their own image. The actor should be funnier, focusing instead on inebriated aloofness, but the character is at the heart of much of the mockery. "When my hamster died," reports one salivating fan, "your music really helped me through."
David Cronenberg has made a typically chilly adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel Cosmopolis, which follows a day (possibly the last) in the life of a Wall Street billionaire. Robert Pattinson offers much more bite than his Twilight vampire as Eric Packer, an egomaniac who insists on being driven the length of Manhattan in his stretch limo – for a haircut – despite a presidential visit and threats to his own life. The focus on dialogue-heavy encounters in the back of the car feels more theatrical than cinematic, but doesn't detract from some pointed satire on a breed we've all come to hate.
Mads Mikkelsen has just given the performance of his life at the Cannes Film Festival, where he won the best actor prize for the contemporary drama The Hunt. Before that reaches our screens, the great Dane broods and smoulders in A Royal Affair, as the real-life physician to the 18th-century King Christian VII, who so won the mad king's trust that he virtually ruled the country for a time; he also happened to be sleeping with the Queen. This historical drama is a solid, absorbing affair, whose stranger-than-fiction storyline compensates for its occasionally stodgy style.