Monday, October 26, 2015

Movie Review #330: "Jem and the Holograms" (2015)

Movie"Jem and the Holograms"
Director: Jon M. Chu
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes
Image Source
When shy teenager Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) makes a video of herself singing as her alter ego Jem, her sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) secretly uploads it to YouTube. The video immediately goes viral, leading to a development deal with Starlight Records, but record executive Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis) has a different vision for Jem than Jerrica, causing conflict between her and her sisters/band. 

More like "Jem and the Failograms."
Or "Jem and the Flopograms."
Or "Jem and Earth to Echo."

BigJ and I seriously considered breaking our "see every major movie released this year" streak and were this close to not seeing "Jem and the Holograms." The internet had a collective meltdown when the first trailer for this "film" got released because, while it might borrow the same general makeup / band concept /namesake from the beloved 80's cartoon, almost everything else isn't even close to being truly outrageous. And by the way, we say "film" in quotation marks above because it's really not a "film" at all, it's a third-rate YouTube video spliced together to make...whatever the hell it was we just watched. So, hesitantly and questioning our own sanity, we pulled ourselves up from our whiny britches and sat through this suck-fest all so you wouldn't have to. Once again, #YoureWelcome.

Our expectations for this movie were lower than low based on the aforementioned trailers, which portrayed Jem and the Holograms as teeny-bopper Miley Cyrus wannabes with a horrible karaoke soundtrack behind them and a "trying too hard to be like the cartoon" makeup and dress style. All of our fears and preconceived notions of what this film could have been were fully realized upon watching the final product. This movie is exactly what you'd expect provided you don't live under a rock and have seen any promotion for the film (which, by the way, was a ridiculously hard campaign and subsequent failed viral marketing attempt): it's a cliché-filled, contrived, stereotypical and standard music movie with a quick rise to stardom and the ~*dramatic~* crash to reality. A camera-shy Jerrica, aka Jem, played by Audrey Peeples, lives with her sister Kimber, played by Stefanie Scott, her aunt Bailey, played by ancient 80's relic Molly Ringwald, and Bailey's two foster/adopted daughters Shana, played by Aurora Perrineau, and Aja, played by Hayley Kiyoko. Kimber, Aja, and Shana like to goof around in their rag-tag "band" and make music videos. When Jerrica as Jem sings a heartfelt song on Kimber's camera, Kimber takes it upon herself to upload the video to YouTube, and overnight, Jem becomes a viral sensation, which apparently is the second best kind of being famous?? Yeah, that's an awesome lesson to teach already the bratty and undisciplined children of 2015, "Jem and the Holograms"! Spend more time with your faces buried in your phones, so long as it makes you ~*internet famous~* just like the water skiing squirrel from like 100 years ago. Could they have dug up an older, less relevant meme? You're gonna go with water skiing squirrel, not sneezing panda? Or Doug the Pug? Are you even trying at all????!!!

Within 2 minutes of the movie, we wanted to leave. Between the inexplicable scene 30 seconds after the credit roll where Aunt Bailey walks in the door with groceries, sees the girls fighting, and immediately shouts, "GIVE ME A 'C'!!" and all the girls start idiotically harmonizing, the overuse of the word "OUTRAGEOUS!" because it was from the cartoon, and the PopChips/Kettle Chips product placements in painfully obvious sight, we knew we were in for a long 2 hours. And also, why the hell was this movie 2 hours long?? At maximum it should have been an hour and a half. So, after Jem's video goes viral, an evil record executive, in this case Erica Raymond (oOoOo, they added an "A" at the end of her name so it could be played by a woman!!!!11~!`~), played by Juliette Lewis, tries to corrupt and exploit Jem and her band of sisters who no one really wanted to sign but were forced to tag along on the journey to keep Jem happy and yet for some reason she was surprised when Erica wanted her to sign a solo contract in order to get a monetary advance to save Aunt Bailey's house WHAT????????????????? This simple, overused plot about a band being corrupted by a sinister, corporate record company is intertwined with a few concert-like musical performances (if you can call them performances since they were clearly auto-tuned to shit and had no real instruments regardless of the fact that the band plays instruments) and multiple "Pretty Woman"-esque fashion montages, all wrapped around an unnecessary romantic plot line involving Jem and Rio, played by CVS brand actor Ryan Guzman, who has been tasked to watch Jem and her sisters and make sure they stay out of trouble. Of course, they don't listen and end up on a scavenger hunt led by "Earth to Echo" ripoff 51N3RGY, a robot Jerrica and Kimber's dad put together before he died because he wanted to leave them with something to remember him by, well, not them, just Jem, because their dad basically couldn't give two fucks less about Kimber and never mentioned her existence once until the very last line he utters at the end of the movie. This dopey scavenger hunt includes the usual "don't forget the importance of family" message, unless, of course, one of your daughters is better than the other one.

This movie was doomed from the start. All of this splicing gets spliced again and again and again and again with more and more clips from YouTube videos of dancers, singers, musicians, and huge fans of Jem/moderate fans of the Holograms in a virtual clip show pander-dome to the tween crowd and their parents, who will be just as miserable as we were watching this garbage. To be clear, what we watched wasn't a movie. What we watched will be the latest item that gets used to torture prisoners during wartime. What we watched should be immediately burned and buried once it leaves the movie theater, which will be soon judging on its legendary floptastic performance its opening weekend, never to be spoken of again. What we watched was a bunch of young girls getting disparaged by an adult for being who they were, how they acted, and how they dressed and told to reinvent themselves because of what society might think would make a mysterious, appealing pop band. Another super excellent message to send to young girls! What we watched was a bunch of girls on a scavenger hunt with a robot and laughable, poorly written lines like "music isn't something that can be put into words." We can't make this shit up. That's exactly what music is, dummy!!! What we watched was these assholes referencing The Everly Brothers in an effort to legitimize their own mediocrity. What we watched made us shake our heads in awe at how far Hollywood was willing to go to poop all over nostalgia. If you thought "Transformers" was bad, guess again because "Jem and the Holograms" makes that franchise look like "Star Wars" compared to it. This movie needs to die, and we mean this politely from the bottom of our hearts.

PS: Please stop trying to make Ryan Guzman happen. If Ryan Guzman is in your movie, chances are, it will be a flop since he has been in 2 of the worst movies of the year, the first being "The Boy Next Door." 

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 3.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 20%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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