I looked over my review for last year’s Bruce Hendricks’ Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour in 3-D and realized that it would only have to be reworked slightly in order for it to serve as the review for Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. And the response to the review/movie would probably result in about the same mix of reader comments on the outrageousness of the price for the tickets, followed by someone on the movie’s “good role models.” In short, what you get here is pretty much the same as what you get with Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: 76 minutes of squeaky clean processed-cheese-food product “rock” music interspersed with spurious “documentary” footage, all aimed at pubescent girls and parents who are anxious about “wholesomeness” in entertainment.
There are, of course, some differences—none of them good. First of all, the “documentary” footage from Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus came across like the work of D.A. Pennebaker in comparison with what Hendricks fobs off here. If you don’t know anything about these boys, you won’t know any more after watching the movie—though you might reasonably deduce that lead singer Joe (the one without curly hair who spends the first part of the film dressed like Huey Lewis) is much more impressed with himself than seems justifiable. Worse, what Hendricks offers instead of documentary is appallingly lame. The film starts off with us getting to watch the boys’ apparent handler “Big Rob” Feggans wake each of them up. This is as interesting at it sounds and a complete waste of time, especially in a movie that asks you to shell out nearly 20 bucks for 76 minutes worth of “event.”
Not long after this heart-stopping opening, Hendricks attempts to turn the film into a bargain-basement version of A Hard Day’s Night (1964)—mindless of the fact that he’s no Richard Lester and the Jonas Brothers are assuredly no Beatles. Good Lord, they’re not even the Monkees—more like the Cowsills with less edge. This gives us a dose of Jonasmania with a decidedly meager mob of girls descending on the Jonas’ limo, which causes a lot of running through what appear to be the streets of New York City (with one gag directly lifted from A Hard Day’s Night). The Jonas boys then make it to a helicopter that whisks them off to their concert.
The concert itself is a monument to conspicuous presumption and calculated hysteria. The brothers ascend to the stage on a hydraulic platform that would seem to be coming up from the bowels of hell, judging by the inapt belching flames that surround their entrance. The audience has been given Glo-sticks to add some kind of visual excitement to the 3-Deification of the Jonases. The songs are incredibly undistinguished pap. If there was a memorable tune in the film, I missed it. (At least with the Hannah Montana movie, I was able to kill some time thinking that “Rock Star” sounded most awfully like “Scotty Doesn’t Know” from the 2004 raunch comedy Eurotrip—a suspicion that bore fruit some months later when a copyright-infringement lawsuit cropped up.)
By far the strangest thing about the whole enterprise is the way in which it sets out to be both comfortably sexless and “innocently” sexual at the same time. Despite the message board arguments about the quality of the music (which are more entertaining than the movie, if you’re not in the demographic), does anyone really think that the fan base doesn’t consist largely of girls who are busy texting each other things like, “OMG Joe is so hot”? When the oldest Jonas, Kevin, darts out to the end of the runway so that the girls nearest the stage can stroke his legs in adoration (not too high, mind you), what exactly are we supposed to think? When the boys hold large hoses and spray some white gooey substance all over the girls in the audience, it moves into the realm of who’s kidding whom?
Technically, the film is fairly mediocre, but looks even more so if you’ve seen the 3-D in U2 3D, Coraline and My Bloody Valentine. There’s simply nothing very exciting about the process as it’s used here. Could that be because it’s simply a fool’s errand to try to add a third dimension to such two-dimensional fabrications as the Jonas Brothers? Myself, I’m just waiting for the Jonases in the Farrelly Brother’s film Walter the Farting Dog in 2010—destined to be a classic. Rated G.