To begin with the weak points, the storyline is kind of meh, and the dialogue is generally pretty bad. Dakota Fanning is not especially impressive as Cherie. You learn damn near nothing about the other members of the Runaways, except that they seem to be totally awesome and it'd be really nice to know more about them. The whole Cherie story is, sorry to say, one of the least compelling things about the movie.
BUT oh man Joan Jett is so awesome. She really comes off as this raging badass who's also, like, super understanding and tolerant of Cherie's flakiness, and passionate about being known for music instead of sex**. Kristen Stewart does a pretty decent job, I have to say. She's not amazing, but she could certainly be worse.
Visually, the movie is well done. I was particularly impressed by the Cherie-Joan sex scene, which is really, really cool. It's kind of funny; I have this kind of prudish hey! it's fucked up to sexualize 15 year old girls! thing, so I was really impressed by the way the movie handled it. It's not explicit, but it's actually pretty hot. Overall, I have to say, the movie did an interesting job handling the sexuality issue, in that while the girls are hot, they're also very clearly 15. Especially when you see Dakota Fanning prancing around in lingerie, I at least was like man... she's cute, but she's not really sexually appealing. Maybe in a few years when she fills out a bit or something, but she just looks like a skinny teenager.
Finally, it was generally awesome to see a movie where chicks are raging badass rock stars, doing all the rock star stuff and generally being every bit as awesome as any dude could be.
So yeah, it wasn't a great movie. But I enjoyed it.
*What's amusing is that my initial fascination with Joan Jett began, not by hearing her music or seeing her, but by reading some young adult novel where one of the characters was obsessed with Joan Jett and dressed like her and spiked her hair. She was obviously the coolest character in the book, so it was obvious to me that this Joan Jett person was a model to be emulated.
**So, I've never really been that into The Runaways - I'm really just a Joan Jett fan. But when I got home, I got on the youtube to check out some videos. So a few points:
1. Cherie does actually have a pretty cool voice. A good example of the contrast is the song Cherry Bomb. Here's the Runaways version, and here's Joan's. Cherie does this neat vocal thing on the Hello daddy, hello mom! part that Joan doesn't do, and it's actually pretty cool.
2. Watching The Runaways version also made me appreciate the movie more. Here's the movie version. Not only did they basically nail the look, though updated a bit to make it more attractive than the 70s, but Dakota Fanning also does a decent job emulating Cherie's vocal stylings. All in all, pretty cool.
For added fun, here's Joan Jett and Cherie Currie reunited on stage in 2001 performing the song together. Note how Joan Jett is still ungodly hot, even now.