March 5, 2009

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Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience (G)
Break out the earmuffs and the Excedrin; your eight- to 14-year-old daughters will demand that you take them to Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, a sugar-dipped Hard Day’s Night for the tweener crowd that pierces the screen and brings the floppy-haired Jonases right into your air space.

There will be squeals.

Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas mix singing and goofing off with a bit of footage of the love-struck girls outside their concerts who dress up in all sorts of zany costumes, including the girls who had the words “Mrs. Jonas” on their shirts. Back in the day (1989) I knew girls similarly entranced with the New Kids on the Block — one friend had her wall covered in every cut-out-able image of them she could find and wore T-shirts featuring her favorite Kids. The next year, she liked The Smiths and wore mostly black. The Jonas Brothers seem to hold a similar music development spot for this generation. They have a sort of “nice boy in Algebra class”-vibe. Theirs is the rock girls listen to before they listen to rock that is rebellious or dark or overtly sexual. And, as often as Joe (the one who ginned up the most squeals and giggles in the girl audience when I saw the film) may have pranced around the stage doing his very best Mick Jagger, he isn’t the least bit dangerous or edgy.

Not edgey but the boys and their music aren’t awful either. Their music is kind of a processed-cheese version of all modern pop — a blander, kid-friendly version of any random middle-brow alt-rock band with pop leanings. They are the most saleable, non-threatening elements of the Beach Boys but with curly hair and fewer songs about surfing. They appeared in the similarly 3-D Miley Cyrus concert movie last year and return the favor by reaching down and bringing up two other rising stars for tweens, Demi Lavato and Taylor Swift. Both of these girls are vaguely Miley-like (though Swift is more country and she slightly resembles the crazy child-bride Rhonda from Big Love, which had me briefly ignoring the movie while I thought up a plot in which the prairie-dress-wearing Rhonda becomes the next tween diva — anyway).

For all this, I found the Jonas Brothers movie more tolerable than the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana forced march of last year. Adults probably won’t be buying Jonas songs for their personal iPods but the music is less like something you’d hear in a Barbie cartoon. You get the sense that for the people who lurve the Jonas boys, the mix of decent 3-D effects and the brief shot of one of them sans shirt, all set to their cheery love songs, is a delight. And for the rest of us, it’s not straight torture. So because this $15 “concert” could be enough to make sure you never have to sit through the real thing live and because your daughter will make a noise that is the audible version of OMG!, the Brothers earn a B-

Rated G. Directed by Bruce Hendricks, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience is an hour and 16 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.