DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US (director: Morgan Spurlock; cinematographer: Tom Krueger; editor: Pierre Takal; music: Simon Franglen; cast: Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Jon Stone, Dan Richards, Sandy Beales, Josh Devine, Simon Cowell; Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Simon Cowell/Adam Milano/Morgan Spurlock; Sony Pictures Entertainment; 2013)

"This is an empty film that provides no insight into its pop singer subjects, but the bubble-gum band got the kind of film they deserved."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Shot in 3-D. A harmless propaganda infomercial that's posing as a real musical documentary (it’s a shameless advertisement for the band's upcoming world tour and its upcoming third album). It tells about five ordinary working-class teenage lads--Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik--picked in 2010 by TV show judge Simon Cowell (producer of this film) in an audition on X-Factor and though not knowing each other were formed into a talentless but very popular Brit & Irish boys' band after failing on their solo auditions. The behind the scenes look at the band by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ("Freakonomics"/"Mansome"/"Super Size Me") is so superficial that it tells nothing about the good looking boys that even whispers of their private life--refusing to even show girlfriends or present any negatives, but telling us between their well-choreographed teenybopper songs that the sweet, down-to-earth, mother-loving boys are normal, have a great group camaraderie, love playing pranks and are very appreciative of their surprising sudden success owing it all to their fans. That their music is crap and that they behave like well-trained puppets and have no personality doesn't seem to mean squat, as their mercurial rise in world-wide popularity is compared by the filmmaker to Beatlemania. We follow the lads on their concert world-tour (2011-2012) and take in the adoration they receive from their idol worshipping female teen fan base from live concert coverage in places like Madrid, Mexico City (filling the 50,000 seat Foro Sol arena), New York (at the legendary MSG), Tokyo, Milan and the band playing to a packed-house at the O2 Arena in London. Also shown are the hard-working boys, now on the road for a few years and aged somewhere between 19 and 20, taking a work break to return to their home towns, where they catchup with their loving families and recent past--one grateful mom is teary-eyed that her son bought her a new home and another lad returns to the bakery where he worked before to get some hugs from the cheerful old ladies who ran the place.

This is an empty film that provides no insight into its pop singer subjects, but the bumble-gum band got the kind of film they deserved.

REVIEWED ON 8/30/2013       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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