A friend passed along free passes for this to me today. I ended up bringing my mother, her first trip out to the movies in months if not years, and we both laughed our asses off and had a blast. It was way better than I'm expecting. It's not an altogether faithful adaptation, preserving most of the music but jettisoning big chunks of plot and providing a very different ending. But like the Broadway musical its based on, it's very lighthearted and self-aware and not infrequently pokes fun at itself. At the same time Adam Shankman, one of the only film directors/choreographers working today, takes the musical form seriously. There are a number of wonderfully choreographed sequences, on a scale that a show like "Glee" just can't pull off on a regular basis. The cast is uniformly excellent, with the romantic leads Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta giving the most lightweight performances. Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin make a great comedic pairing, Bryan Cranston brings a hilarious spin to the underwritten role of the deviant newly elected mayor of Los Angeles, and Tom Cruise brings all of his star power to the mythologically over sexed rock god Stacee Jaxx. We had a great crowd for the movie, and it's definitely they type of film where having an enthusiastic crowd helps. There were many instances where just the first chords of a song had the crowd laughing or howling or cheering.