Someday, we might get a clue as to what makes the Jonas Brothers tick.
We might get a glimpse into the pop stars' distinct personalities — because certainly they must have them — and, eventually, even learn about their demons and desires.
But for now, Nick, Joe and Kevin are presented as so much glossy, superficial packaging in Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.
Sure, there are behind-the-scenes moments wedged between the perky performances, but these moments feel self-conscious, staged, and they consist mainly of the brothers marveling at how many screaming fans are gathered outside their hotel/car/wherever.
We learn nothing about who they are or where they come from — they might not even have parents, for all we know, because the adult accompanying them is usually their bodyguard.
But then, director Bruce Hendricks' film isn't intended for the uninitiated. It's for the tween and teen girls who emitted ear-piercing shrieks of glee at the very sight of the words "Joe Jonas" during the opening titles at the Los Angeles premiere. (And watching the movie with a crowd of crazy JoBros devotees has a weirdly interactive Rocky Horror-like quality about it. The girls clap and scream and sing along on cue, as if the Brothers can hear them or something.)
To their credit, the Jonases put on a high-energy show — Nick does roundoff-back handsprings! — and Hendricks, who also directed last year's 3-D Miley Cyrus movie, has his cameras everywhere. Hands and glow sticks reach up from the dark mass of preadolescent humanity at New York's Madison Square Garden, and we feel as if we're among them — for better and for worse.
And it's hard to hate on the Jonas Brothers completely, because they seem like such hardworking, decent kids — except Kevin. He's a grown-up. He has chest hair and sideburns and, at 21, he is old enough to buy the alcohol that he and his brothers would never dream of drinking. He also doesn't get the solos that his younger brothers get or the same sort of frantic reception; to paraphrase Cyrus, their fellow Disney product, he gets the worst of both worlds.
Unfortunately, most of the 3-D effects are pretty gimmicky: For example, Joe, 19, the middle brother, takes off his sunglasses and hurls them at the camera, and Nick, 16, the youngest, flicks a guitar pick and hits us squarely between the eyes. There's also a bizarre sequence in which they whip out giant power hoses and suggestively spray the crowd with some sort of indeterminate fluffy white substance. Perhaps they're not so innocent after all.
As for the songs themselves ... well, they all start to blend into each other after a while. They're about chaste love or having fun, and they have just enough guitar to make them seem vaguely, though non- threateningly, rockin.' (Admittedly, Video Girl has a little more edge to it, and BB Good is just evil, it's so catchy.)
Mostly, though, the movie upholds the adage that if it's too loud, you're too old. Then again, if you're bothering to read this, you're probably too old anyway.