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Overall Rating
1.22

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 22.22%
Total Crap77.78%

1 review, 3 user ratings



One Direction: This Is Us
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Rattle & Ho-Hum"
1 stars

The one surprising--hell, shocking--moment in "One Direction: This Is Us," the latest endeavor by the freakishly popular British boy band to separate their adoring tween girl audiences from their allowance money comes at roughly the halfway point in the film when the group is preparing for a massive concert at Madison Square Garden. Before the show, they are shown greeting a number of well-wishers and among them is none other than Martin Scorsese. For most of the target audience--whose exposure to his work is presumably limited to "Hugo" and his bit in "Shark Tale"--this will have little meaning but for older viewers who have most likely been roped into attending against their will, the sight of a filmmaking legend hanging with this generation's New Kids on the Block is a bit startling until you realize that he is there with a girl who is presumably his daughter and that he is simply being a good dad. Some observes might be tempted to use his appearance to suggest some kind of thematic link between this film and "Shine a Light," the stunning 2008 New York-based concert film that he made featuring the Rolling Stones, another British band of some popularity. The difference--one of many, to be sure--is that you don't see him clamoring for the set list this time around.

Considering the fact that it would take longer to read the above paragraph than to actually watch Scorsese's appearance in the film, some may question why I have chosen to concentrate on it to such a degree and the reason is simple--there is not much else on display that I could write about without feeling foolish. The film is a grab-bag that kicks off with a brief recounting of how they came together (Having individually auditioned for "The X Factor" in England, judge Simon Cowell had the inspiration to put them together in one handsome pile) and then depicts their meteoric rise to the top of the charts performances from their worldwide tour and behind-the-scenes moments with the group that are meant to give us a private glimpse of what they are like off-stage. Sounds okay in theory, I suppose, but to these eyes and ears, there are two slight problems. For one, the five guys, while affable enough, have fewer individual personality traits than the Spice Girls and for another, the sonic pudding that is their music is even more unmemorable--of all the songs that they perform, the only one that stuck in my mind was their cover of Blondie's "One Way Or Another" and even that was tainted a bit when they introduced it as an "oldie."

The film was directed by Morgan Spurlock, the huckster documentarian whose previous efforts have dealt with such taboo subject matter as how eating tons of fast food will make you fat and sick ("Super Size Me"), that our game plan for catching the world's most wanted man was not thought out particularly well ("Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?,") that some movies are filled with product placement designed to get viewers to buy crap ("Poms Presents The Greatest Story Ever Sold") and that some men spend as much time and money on grooming products as women ("Mansome"). This time around, his chief desire seems to be nothing more than to make a film that will gross more in its opening weekend alone than all of his previous efforts combined. He will almost certainly pull that off but anyone hoping that he might try something slightly more ambitious within the context of a sure-fire commercial prospect is sure to be cruelly disappointed with the results. There are a couple of moments in the early going where it seems as if he might have something unusual up his sleeve--at one point, he cuts abruptly to a neurologist who explains in scientific terms exactly why songs such as the group's confections stick themselves in our heads--but for the most part, the film is so fawning that it might as well have been shot by members of the One Direction fan club. The tone gets so obsequious after a while the film drifts dangerously close to self-parody. In the most cringe-worthy moment, Spurlock follows the boys on a supposedly spontaneous camping trip that finds them sitting around a campfire and speculating on their futures--the sequence is already as contrived as can be but has been staged in such a ridiculously unbelievable manner that it almost plays like one of those jokes in "This is Spinal Tap" that is so subtle that you don't even realize that it is a joke until your third or fourth viewing.

Although the concert documentary is rarely looked at as a source for great potential art, the genre has spawned such undeniably captivating works as "Don't Look Back," "Stop Making Sense," "Truth or Dare" and the various movies with the Rolling Stones. "One Direction: This Is Us" is nowhere near any of those in terms of quality or ambition--it is little more than the cinematic equivalent of an overpriced concert T-shirt and never pretends to be anything more than that. For its target audience, that will no doubt be more than enough, if the authentic 10-year-old girl I brought to the screening is any indication--like all the other kids present, she was giddy from the first frame to the last (though the combination of incipient hormones and the free cupcakes handed out befor the film in addition to the other snack bar monstrosities may have helped fuel the mass reaction just a tad). In fact, I am certain that if you were to ask her right now, she would cheerfully declaim it to be one of the best movies, if not the best, ever made and scorn you forever if you even suggested otherwise. That said, I am equally certain that if you ask her about it in another five years, her reaction is going to be slightly different.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=23808&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/30/13 02:30:13
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User Comments

11/23/14 Mario is the Best Never been a fan of One Direction. 2 stars
12/07/13 Pearl Bogdan not worth the time or effort ,A movie about another flash in the pan low on talent boy band 1 stars
9/06/13 PAUL SHORTT MARVELLOUS MOVIE FOR TERRIBLE TASTES 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Aug-2013 (PG)
  DVD: 10-Dec-2013

UK
  N/A

Australia
  30-Aug-2013
  DVD: 10-Dec-2013


Directed by
  Morgan Spurlock

Written by
  N/A

Cast
  (documentary)



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