Reaching out and touching

So big, and now even bigger: The Jonases pump it up on the 3D screen. OK, girls, come and get 'em.

Posted: February 28, 2009

According to Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, JonasWorld is a place where glowsticks wave to the beat of homogenized pop for milk-fed tween and teenage girls.

The pop princes, successors to the Monkees and Boyz II Men - if less musically inventive - are ear candy for females of a certain age and demographic.

Here's how to tell them apart: "Joe is the one with the caterpillar eyebrows and shiny dark hair," explains my daughter Cora, 12. "Kevin is the oldest one. He has curly hair and doesn't do much.

"Nick, he has soft curls and is like a Greek god to little girls." She is not a fan of the brothers, aged 21, 20, and 16. Her mother understands their appeal, but wishes their movie didn't sing only to the initiated.

The 3D "experience" directed by Bruce Hendricks (helmer of Best of Both Worlds, last year's Hannah Montana concert film) is a phenomenon only a fangirl could love. (A well-heeled fangirl at that: At $15 a ticket, the 75-minute movie works out to 20 cents per minute.) The 3D effects are of a gimmicky 1956 vintage, with hands thrusting from the screen to give the illusion of reaching out and touching the audience.

The film zips from backstage to onstage following the trio, backed up by an accomplished female string octet and rocking backup musicians. The brothers perform cartwheels and Disney Radio hits such as "Hold On," "Video Girl," and "Burnin' Up." The gymnastic guys barely break a sweat, something that cannot be said of their feverish fans.

To spike the audience temperature, each Jonas brandishes a fire hose and sprays a creamy substance onto the fans. Goodness gracious, great beads of - never mind.

The film is little more than snippets from their "Burnin' Up" concert at Madison Square Garden (where Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato make guest appearances) and shots showing the Jonases bemused by legions of fans in Times Square and Central Park.

From the Beatles to Hanson, boy bands serve multiple functions for their audiences. They entertain, they sing the poetry of love, they offer a spectrum of masculine attributes. On the first two counts, the Jonas Brothers movie leaves something to be desired.

On the third count, it succeeds: Joe is the seductive one, twirling the mike stand like a baton, ever conscious of his effect on the camera and the live audience. Kevin is the sparkplug, getting the party started and turning up the flame. Nick is the sensitive one, hiding behind the microphone, singing softly in that choirboy voice, drawing the audience to him.


Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey and 215-854-5402 or crickey@phillynews.com. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/flickgrrl/

|
|
|
|
|