This Is Spinal Tap without the wry smile, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience plays like some grand concept joke about the lack of substance among sheltered, upper middle class suburban kids and how they fill that void with fellow teenagers they’ve elevated to icon status. For an outsider, it’s almost shocking when confronted with all the artificial glitz and glamour and its pimply underbelly, but I suspect those in the know, the upper middle class suburban kids planning to see this phantasmagoria, will pause no more than a loyal member of the K.I.S.S. Army buying a K.I.S.S. pinball machine. And at this point why even question? All that’s left to do is shake your head, sigh, and walk out of the room. That’s probably what my grandfather did when my mom spent her allowance on a David Cassidy lunchbox.
Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience tells the story of three brothers (Kevin, Joe, and Nick) and the fans (your daughter and her friends) who love them, and it achieves this through a careful meshing of zany backstage clips, live performances and carefully-timed reaction shots. To call these reactions Beatles-esque would not be an overstatement. Weeping, sobbing, gnashing of the teeth. No emotion is too deeply hidden to be coaxed out by Joe Jonas’ Freddie Mercury-like effeminate leg kicks and overt gayness.
As per the title’s promise, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience is, in fact, in three dimensions, and while this may seem like, and arguably is, just a convenient excuse to further extend the Jonas market, the extra dimension does add a little something to the concert experience. Sure, that something is a little hokey and somehow involves giant fake hands and raised cell phones between you and the screen, but if you, as a viewer, can’t learn anything from the euphoric, untamed reaction shots and just go with it, you need to quit your job at Ernst & Young and watch the sunset for a few months. Brilliant camera perspectives from all angles of the stage, as well as above, actually bring an element of life to the back-up band and a hint as to what ten thousand adolescents screaming at you might sound like. Madison Square Garden also benefits from the splendid cinematography, looking as overwhelming and magical as ever.
Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience is no less bad than it is good, no less overblown than it is underwhelming. It’s A Hard Day’s Night without the talent, Jesus Camp without the indoctrination. It’s not overly good because it doesn’t need to be. This film sells a product, The Jonas Brothers’ in 3D, and it achieves that, aiming for nothing more. Like the David Cassidy lunchbox or New Kids On The Block bandanas, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience is a product of its specific place and time. In twenty years your daughter will marvel at the out-of-place audaciousness it must have taken to raise sixteen year old Nick Jonas toward the sky on a moving pedestal, but right now, she loves it. That you find it or I find it goofy and pretentious is beside the point. She loves it and extrapolating it all to three dimensions is another way for her to stay a sheltered, upper middle class suburban kid. Isn’t that all most of us want from our children anyway?
It’s better than Mighty Ducks 3, worse than Mighty Ducks 2. John Wayne Gacy would have loved this.