I would like to ask all studios and filmmakers to please stop making movies with titles that make bad ‘80s rock music get stuck in my head for hours on end. A little while back, it was Eye of the Dolphin, now it’s Feel the Noise. And while this isn’t a Quiet Riot biopic, as bone-headed an idea as that might sound, such a film could hardly be more uninteresting than what we do get. Feel the Noise attempts to show the healing power of reggaeton music, or something along those lines, but since it’s never clear what the point of this movie really is, who knows? The film simply meanders around from set piece to set piece like a wounded elephant, until it finally, mercifully, keels over and ends.
For those not in the know, reggaeton mixes hip-hop, reggae and Latin beats. And while music is always viable in film when in the right hands, Feel the Noise feels like a primer for the genre and little else. Nothing is done to make the music palatable, and the performance and dance sequences are some of the laziest and most humdrum pieces of filmmaking to limp their way into theaters all year. Ultimately, the whole mess ends up as a bad movie trying to sell tickets by hitching its wagon to a musical fad.
The film’s major albatross is its script, written by first-time screenwriter Albert Leon. The story is a lumbering—and ultimately pointless—wreck filled with melodramatic clichés. The film follows Rob (Omarion Grandberry, You Got Served), a young hip-hop artist, who after stealing a set of rims off the wrong car is shot at in a nightclub. His mother consequently forces him to move from his native New York to Puerto Rico to live with his estranged father (Giancarlo Esposito, Last Holiday). There, Rob’s stepbrother, Javi (Victor Rasuk, Lords of Dogtown), introduces him to the wonderful world of reggaeton. From there we have plot contrivance after plot contrivance piling on top of each other as the characters are guided only by the invisible hand of the script—with a big fat dollop of soap-opera dramatics to finish it all off. The film was produced by Jennifer Lopez, who, in the movie’s best bit of unintentional humor, manages to stroke her ego by making herself—to the delight of hundreds of cheering extras—the Grand Marshal of a Puerto Rico Day parade. Feel the Noise shows that her taste in movies hasn’t gotten any better since Gigli (2003).
There have been complaints from some critics as to Grandberry’s lack of charisma, which is hard to argue with, but at the same time he’s not completely at fault, since the entire movie mistakes glum for gritty. Add this with the film’s terrible scripting, and I’d have a difficult time believing anyone could make this material anything more than mediocre. Director Alejandro Chomski’s rough-around-the-edges, real-world approach—with its views of life on the streets, complete with supposed harrowing violence—comes across as silly, juvenile machismo. That might have worked if the whole macho idea was explored or commented on, but it isn’t. In Chomski’s defense, he tries really, really hard to at least pretend to be a serious filmmaker, such as when he juxtaposes the beating of a thug with a scene of an impromptu cockfight, but his attempts at being artsy come across as awkward, second-rate boondoggles.
I’ll be the first to admit I know little about reggaeton, and Feel the Noise did little to change that. I do know one thing, however: I don’t know what reggaeton did to deserve this movie, but it must have been horrible. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, some drug use, language and innuendos.