Just a few short weeks ago, I praised Henry Selick, the director of Coraline, for his subtle use of 3D, that is, “resist[ing] the temptation of ejaculating all over his audience.” Little did I realize that, at the hands of the Jonas Brothers, this very phenomenon would soon occur right before my horrified eyes. Naturally, in a G-rated movie, this has to be a figurative act, so these three virginal cherubs take aim, with firehoses in hand, and duly unleash fountains of creamy secretion onto the heads of their fawning female audience. A few minutes later, the brothers sing in Central Park and Kevin Jonas shoves a hot dog into the camera while Joe Jonas, dressed as a Village People-styled policeman, teasingly swings his baton in tune with the music. A G-rated production hasn’t seemed so, well, erect since The Little Mermaid’s artists experimented with subliminal phallic castle architecture. Welcome, my fellow sufferers, to Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.
For those of you fortunate enough to not associate the Jonas Brothers with their first names, let’s ruin that little comfort for you. The most recognizable brother is Joe (19), who is the group’s pretty-boy lead singer and, curiously, is marketed throughout this film as the girl-crazy one. Of course, Joe is also the brother who cried at the end of Camp Rock, if that tells you anything at all about his persuasions. The eldest brother, Kevin (21), possesses overwrought sideburns and an endless supply of “Whoa!” facial expressions as he pretends to be Eddie Van Halen or some shit. Then, the lone talent of the group, Nick (16), is the only brother who plays multiple musical instruments and, for whatever it’s worth at this point, seems to be the least douchey of the bunch. (Note: A wee fourth brother named Frank, the so-called “Bonus Jonas,” was also spawned, but, the filmmakers chose to spare us from the little cretin. Small mercies, folks.) Finally, the brothers’ bodyguard/driver/asswiper and apparent surrogate parent, Robert “Big Rob” Feggans, rounds out the list of main players. Other than that, there are a few onstage guests, including fellow Disney “talents” Taylor Swift (who aims for concentration camp chic in swishy gold dress and cowboy boots) and Demi Lovato (whose pasted-on smile doesn’t match her troubled eyes). All of this wouldn’t matter at all though, without the obligatory and somewhat ubiquitous ocean of screaming female fans.
This “rockumentary” is what some overly kind historians would call an “homage,” but, if that was really the case, it’s an unwise move towards parents who probably, at this point, shouldn’t be reminded of a vastly superior musical act. In actuality, this film attempts to replicate the frenzy of the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night with ridiculously acted scenes where the brothers bust out their car roof and hoof it through the streets of Manhattan towards a waiting helicopter. Naturally, the boys are both entranced and horrified of their own celebrity, and, as Joe clasps his hands over his face and moans about how much he can’t believe this is happening, I can’t help but share his disbelief. A similar moment occurs a bit later when the brothers look out a window and are greeted by a throng of fans awaiting their concert arrival. Conveniently, at this very moment, the brothers and Big Rob are also watching a fake newscast about the Jonas Brothers themselves in the context of boy bands. Flashing on the screen are the Beatles, New Kids on the Block, and then the Jonases; here, the implication is that each successor generates a more intense fanbase than its predecessors, but, seriously, did the Beatles end up on backpacks and lunchboxes before people even knew who they were? This entire film, along with the Jonas Brothers themselves, is entirely manufactured, and I find it hard to believe that these dipshits could really sell out at Madison Square Garden. Regardless, that’s what Disney wants us to believe, so about three-fourths of this movie is actual concert footage of such Jonas Brothers’ classics as “Burnin’ Up” and “BB Good.” (Actual lyrics: “Girl, I don’t wanna hurt you. I only wanna kiss you!”) The rest is behind-the-scenes, or, more accurately, staged footage of the three brothers running away from their fans. Buh-bye!
Oh, and about those cutting-edge 3D effects… Director Bruce Hendricks possesses a certain signature use of technology, which is pretty fucking intrusive at its best moments, that should be documented as an example for all of posterity to avoid. Hendricks operates his 3D paintbrush set much like the inexperienced college dude who thinks “good in bed” means making like a jackhammer, complete with a headboard pounding announcement to the rest of the building, with one eye on the clock for endurance’s sake. Yeah, and if Hendricks goes looking for a booty call tonight, homeboy had better not call me because I still have a tsunami-sized headache from the sensory overload of jumping Jonases and a churning sea of waving arms that lined the bottom of the screen during all of the concert footage. It got so damn bad that I removed my glasses at the film’s halfway point and only put them on again when a big build was coming, but this usually only resulted in a sweaty Joe staring seductively into the camera. Putz.
The problem with criticizing Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience is that it automatically qualifies me as “old” and “out of touch” with today’s tween audience. Well, it’s the decrepit parents who pay for this shit, and, while Disney-mandated $15 tickets may have flown for last year’s Hannah Montana concert movie, we’re in a fucking recession now. If Disney would have slashed the prices down to $10 per ticket, perhaps my theater wouldn’t have been almost empty. Hell, those sorts of ticket prices can’t even be overcome by the promise (and delivery!) of 3-D enhanced nipples from Joe Jonas or the film’s relatively short run time. Unfortunately, however, while 76-minutes may seem blessedly brief, it didn’t feel that way during the “experience” itself. The worst part of all of this is knowing that, while the Jonas Brothers may eventually go away, they will eventually return with some reality show about them gearing up for their “comeback.” Purity rings and all.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be found at agentbedhead.com.Q: What's Worse Than Bat Nipples?
Film Reviews | March 2, 2009 | Comments ()