“Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience”
At Quality 16 and Showcase
.5 out of 5 Stars
In many profound ways, “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” is emblematic of the most significant flaws of moviegoing mass culture.
For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is the Jonas Brothers, they are a musical group comprised of siblings Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas. Having worked their way up the Disney ladder through their associations with Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) and tween pop star Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers have exploded from the family-friendly mold into superstardom.
Their movie, which is presumptuously labeled a “Concert Experience,” is more or less a standard concert film shot in 3D. It goes without saying that to compare the Jonas’s film to Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz” or Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense” would be like comparing a tricycle to a Jaguar. The brothers perform their hit songs with high energy and elaborate production, but the band’s enthusiasm is pretty much all there is to speak of. The music written for them has been played a few too many times to still sound fresh.
Infrequent cutaways to documentary footage show snippets of the brothers’ individual personalities. It’s hard to say whether these segments are real or staged, which further speaks to the overwhelming degree to which the whole ball of wax is contrived, constructed and sold.
True to their manufactured family-friendly image, the Jonas Brothers outwardly promote positive values. A family of evangelical Christians, each member wears a chastity ring on his left hand, signifying their promise to God to abstain from premarital sex as well as drug and alcohol use. Knowing this, it was confusing (or rather mind-blowing) to see overt sexual imagery pervade the movie. At one point, the Jonas boys put down their instruments and pick up foam guns, blasting a whiteish substance at an audience of screaming adolescent girls. It’s pretty appalling, especially as a gesture allegedly in the name of positive values.
Another unintentionally nocuous element of the movie is the presence of the boys’ bodyguard Big Rob. He comes out on stage for one song as a hype man, but then is quickly dismissed backstage. In the documented footage, he is the comic relief, though the laughs are sometimes uneasy. As the black, obese giant paired with the three cute pop stars, there is the sense that Rob is not so much a bodyguard as he is an accessory.
In addition to Big Rob easiness, fans standing in line make a blatantly racist joke, and it didn’t go over well with the man who was the butt of the joke or this reviewer.
“Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” will likely entertain and satisfy far more than it should. However, its slim 76-minute runtime can’t keep the movie and the idea behind the Jonas Brothers from feelingly overly manufactured and extremely bland.