Jem and the Holograms Theatrical Review
Based on the Hasbro toy, Jerrica/Jem (Aubrey Peeples; Nashville) is a shy teenager with loads of talent and a less than perfect life. With a little unknown help from her sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott; A.N.T. Farm), Jem becomes an Internet sensation that catches the eye of music producer Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis; Natural Born Killers).
When Erica transforms Jerrica into Jem, and shows her the best parts of fame and success, she is excited about playing the role. However, once Erica requires Jerrica/Jem to turn her back on her sisters and makes her feel she is losing her own identity to this new persona, Jem starts to question if this is even what she really wants. Adding to the cheesiness, is a Wall-E looking robot, created by Jem's deceased father, that takes them all on a chase for clues throughout Los Angeles.
While the film itself leaves much to be desired, the cast is ripe with young talent plucked from the plethora of starlets on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. Peeples, Scott, Hayley Kiyoko (Lemonade Mouth) and Aurora Perrineau (Chasing Life) are all solid performers with beautiful voices. They are able to share their screen time with each other and veterans Lewis and Molly Ringwald (Pretty In Pink) without overpowering anyone or blaringly standing out; good or bad.
Otherwise, there isn't much that is salvageable about the movie. The formula plot is nothing new, different or exciting, and the overall feel is boring and ironically uninspiring. Jem and the Holograms is no different from many of the other pre-adolescent movies made for Nickelodeon or Disney, and I'm not sure why anyone would shell out good money to see it when they can watch reruns of so many other likeminded films on the aforementioned channels at home, for free.
There are few catchy tunes and lots of flash – one scene reminded me of a Lady Gaga video – to enthrall the prepubescent demographic, but why do we need another girl's movie of this nature when we could simply YouTube old Hannah Montana shows?
I can't, in good conscience, recommend this movie to anyone other than soccer moms who are looking to have a mommy/daughter "date" with their little girl before she hits teenagedom and starts rolling her eyes at the mere thought of being seen in public with her mom. Bonus points to any father who takes his child to sit through this 2 hour snoozefest with a "message".
I'm not sure what Director Jon M. Chu (Justin Bieber Never Say Never) or Producers Scooter Braun (Speaking of Justin Bieber) and Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions (yes of the horror film genre) were thinking when they decided to make this a feature film, but it wasn't a good idea.
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 118 minutes
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
About Allison Hazlett-Rose
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