Magazine article Variety

Spurlock Doc Gives Boy Band Its Due

Magazine article Variety

Spurlock Doc Gives Boy Band Its Due

Article excerpt

Spurlock Doc Gives Boy Band Its Due

Once one reaches a certain age, the procession of teen pop idols becomes a cruel reminder of the passage of time and the inevitability of death. For any non-teenager attending Morgan Spurlock's concert documentary "One Direction: This Is Us," intimations of mortality will be felt most strongly during the "classic cover song" section of the group's set, wherein the boy band reaches all the way back to Blondie's "One Way or Another" and Wheatus' 2000 golden oldie "Teenage Dirtbag." Yet the central fivesome prove charming pallbearers throughout the film, which alternates between inspired and insipid as it hits its hagiographie marks. Directioners should show up in full force.

One Direction is, needless to say, an extraordinarily successful English/Irish quintet assembled from the outcasts of a 2010 "X Factor" audition. It's hardly the first pop group to have its every formative step stage-managed by TV crews, yet it's certainly the first to go on to attain this level of success. How the group developed post-"X Factor" would seem a fertile topic for a media-sawy documentarían like Spurlock, yet the director generally plays things straight, interspersing live footage of the boys at London's 02 Arena with behind-the-scenes shenanigans from their globe-hopping 201213 tour.

Although the group is described as "a bit anarchic" by a British critic here, any evidence of paramours or partying has been scrubbed clean from these reels, and the fivesome rarely say anything of much interest. Yet they're unerringly charming oncamera, and for a generation raised on Justin Bieber's Twitter musings, hearing the heavily accented Liam Payne describe the group "proper having a full-on strop" must seem thrillingly exotic. …

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