CATEGORIES Documentary, Music & Musicals, Disney, Theatrical Reviews, Family Films, Reviews, Cinematical
Last November, around the time that Bolt came out, I was offered with a night's notice a phone interview with Miley Cyrus. Despite my completist habit of seeing pretty much all theatrical releases in a given year, I decided to make an exception with Miley's 3D concert movie, an exception which had now come to haunt me in the most unexpected of ways. To my luck, the film happened to be instantly available through Netflix, and so I sat at my computer for 75 minutes, confirming all that I had been told the previous spring: it was a fine flick for her fans, and equally harmless and pointless to anyone else.
Anyhow, Ms. Cyrus stood me up, but I bring up that story for two reasons: one, to pad my word count, and two, to assure you that I know I am not the ideal audience for Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, that I know that you know this, and that you know already whether or not you're interested, pumped, and/or psyched -- and chances are that if you are any of those things, then you won't be disappointed.
For those new to the Jonas Brothers, there's the one with the straight hair (Joe), the one with the curly hair (Nick), and the one with the curly hair and sideburns (Kevin). They're squeaky-clean faces for bubble-gum pop, every bit as interchangeable as the songs they perform, and that's alright. Sure, they claim to take after the Beatles (think of this as "A Soft Day's Night"), but there are admittedly worse influences for them to have, and for us to give our current youth, even if you can't shake the feeling that Disney scientists were laboring over test tubes two decades prior, wondering how to dial back the chest hair gene in order to please Standards & Practices.
When the Charlie Bartlett Trio takes the stage, though, they command their crowd of brace-faced tween girls with relentless clap cues and no small amount of panache. Look, even the string section is bouncing along in the background! And here come already established artists Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato! (The former's already topping charts, so expect the latter to have her own 3D concert movie by this time next year.) The disgustingly elaborate stage set-up often manifests new ways to literally put the band above its audience, if not among, and there's no shortage of places to power-slide.
In between songs, the film -- which is itself, in the hands of director Bruce Hendricks and a considerable crew, quite an accomplishment in terms of technical prowess and coordination -- takes behind-the-scenes detours by way of two music videos and a thorough chronicle of their daily grind, though the absence of family relationships and just general downtime gives Miley's film the slight edge in hindsight. At some point, watching the Jonas Bros. film themselves taping themselves as they perform or film themselves buying their own album before legions of dedicated fans can get their grubby hands on it takes away from the idea that they're putting on a show for them and, if incidentally, lends more to the notion that they're doing it more for themselves (not to mention Mom and Dad, apparently behind the camera and busy counting the dollars).
After a while, though, the idle grown-up mind starts to wander, and when microphones, microphone stands, guitar necks, police batons, fingers and hot dogs are all thrust toward the audience, one might be tempted to write it all off as innocent gimmickry -- that is, until the hoses come out, and Joe, Nick and Kevin each proceed to covering their crowd of young females with an ejection of white goo (surely soap or something similarly safe, but somewhat of a visual alarm to those of us in the know). It was a sight that had this guy half-expecting our nation's nine-year-olds to be clustered together outside of theaters across the country for their first post-coital puff.
But let's face it: the kids who read this review won't read it, or even know what 'post-coital' means, merely content with leaving comments of alternating capitalization and an often direct address to the Jonases themselves. The parents who read this should know that it'll please their children as much in regular 3D as it would during its extra-taxing one-week IMAX run. And the rest of you who read this should know that fans of the Jonas Brothers, Pavlov and Freud should be equally satisfied for a 75-minute stint. When I promise fireworks, just feel free to take that as you may.