Haters, head for the door. But Gleeks? Get your Glee on.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie is as spontaneous as a Pringles commercial, with cast members of the hit TV series re-creating — on stage — their biggest musical moments, sometimes in exactly the same costumes they wore on TV. You might not be able to tell how much of the music is live and how much is prerecorded, from the singing-dancers who never take a breath or miss a note to the Robert Palmer-pretty backup band.
But this film perfectly — and I have to say entertainingly — captures America's moment of Glee.
Cast members stay in character, even in the adorable, self-mocking backstage "interviews." Rachel (Lea Michele) chokes up after hearing that Barbra Streisand is in the audience for that night's concert in the Meadowlands; the flamboyant Kurt (Chris Colfer) purrs, "Thank you, everyone, for loving me;" and ditzy blonde Brittany (Heather Morris) speculates on her appeal: "I think this has a lot to do with my hair."
Yes, Artie (Kevin McHale) leaps from his wheelchair for an energetic Safety Dance. Yes, a certain guest star relives her shot at Cee Lo Green's biggest hit. Mercedes (Amber Riley) does a bit of soul shouting, Rachel does her best Streisand, and Puck (Mark Salling) carries a guitar he doesn't play as he works the crowd — at a safe distance — for Fat Bottomed Girls.
But it's all good, campy 3-D fun, a show-choir musical revue of pop hits. From Tin Pan Alley to Tina Turner, the Beatles to Lady Gaga, these folks do justice to scores of songs and dance their brains out as they do.
Like the Justin Bieber documentary of last winter, Kevin (Fame) Tancharoen's film also is about the fans, filmed standing in line for shows. It tops Bieber by following a few fans home, where we see them applying the show's lessons about tolerance, not judging others based on appearance, learning "that everybody has a story." Uplifting as they are, a few of these bits — Brittany's biggest fan or the dwarf cheerleader getting her dream date to the prom — seem staged or at least altered by the presence of a film crew. But any TV show that encourages fans to wear T-shirts advertising their perceived shortcomings ("Neat Freak," "Can't Sing") isn't a bad thing.
The 3-D takes us right up there on stage, letting us catch Morris' furious dance energy; the precision of The Warblers, a competing boys choir fronted by breakout star Darren Criss; and Michele's Broadway- polished stage presence.
There's no raining on this parade except from confetti cannons. And if future generations wonder what all the fuss was about, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie will go a long way in explaining it.