3-D glimpses of teen idols
Applying criticism to "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience" is like trying to lasso a bull with dental floss. It's not going to stop the bull and no one's really going to notice.
Still, here it is: 70-odd minutes of wholesome corporate cheez-pop interspersed with backstage "reality" segments and an awful lot of screaming teenage girls. Shot at a pair of concerts last July, the movie's an illusion of an illusion: Its swooping 3-D visuals let fans briefly feel they can touch a group that barely exists behind a wall of beefy security men.
If you're in the dark, the Jonas Brothers are teen idols and stars of the Disney Channel's "Camp Rock" TV movie, with three albums and a record number of downloaded singles under their belts. Joe, the lead singer, is arguably the least talented of the three, but he's super-dreamy - a young Peter Gallagher would be the reference point for grown-ups - and, worse, he knows it. Preening his way through the group's pop-lite hits, he mugs for the cameras like Paul McCartney with a cooler-than-thou attitude. You kinda want to punch him.
Nick is shorter, younger, and more sensitive, with a puppy-dog voice that isn't quite housebroken yet. He's a songwriter and the brains of the outfit, more or less. Then there's gangly, likable Kevin, whose guitar solos actually appear to be played by John Lloyd Taylor, the trio's onstage musical director. Kevin's the fifth wheel, the Isaac Hanson - Larry to Nick's Curly and Joe's Moe. I bet he's the only one standing when this all falls apart.
Guest appearances include squeaky-clean singer Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift, the lone performer whose personality doesn't appear completely co-opted by the Disney machine. Backstage segments, shot in 2-D, include a sped-up frolic that rips off "A Hard Day's Night," an old movie starring that British group the parents always talk about. You know, the one from "Across the Universe."
The Beatles are also referenced in the many, many shots of emotionally overwrought fans, each of whom entertains dreams about the Jonases that must make the brothers' famous chastity rings burn heavy and red. Or maybe not. "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience" reaches its climax, as it were, when the bros whip out fire hoses, hold them at crotch level, and spray their adolescent fans with gobs of shaving cream.