Jem and the Holograms

Directed By: Jon M. Chu

Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora Perrineau, Juliette Lewis, Ryan Guzman, and Molly Ringwald

Other than Back to the Future Day, it's safe to say that films not named Star Wars are hardly getting any love this week.  With sites crashing, world records breaking, and tickets being scalped for as much as $10,000, it's safe to say that Star Wars is dominating the pop culture landscape once again.  That's why I'm less than shocked by the headlines all over the web that the force is not with all the films arriving at the mainstream box office.  Why go see Jem and the Holograms when you've got Darth Vader and the Empire to revisit before December?  Nevertheless, here I am, the movie critic who sees everything by default of what I do, coming to talk about it.

After the passing of her father Emmet (Barnaby Carpenter)' Jerrica Benton (Aubrey Peeples) and her younger sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) have lived with their Aunt Bailey (Molly Ringwald).  Her aunt is also the adoptive mother to Aja Leith (Hayley Kiyoko) and Shana Elmsford (Aurora Perrineau).  Growing up in one house, the four girls become a close-knit group.  They even sing for their own pleasure and make music videos.  It's clear from jump that Jerrica is the gem of the group.  When the girls get her to record a song of her own, the shy Jerrica starts something she never could have expected.

Though Jerrica is not sure about recording her performance, she does so.  What she doesn't realize is that her sisters will take this video and post it to YouTube.  Soon, the video becomes an Internet sensation garnering thousands of likes.  “Jem”, what Jerrica calls herself, is born, and the world wants to get to know her.  Starlight Enterprises CEO Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis) takes notice as well and wants to help introduce Jem to her adoring fans on the web.  Soon, Jerrica and the girls find themselves trying to establish careers in the music business.  Meanwhile, the girls and their road manager Rio (Ryan Guzman) investigate a device Jerrica's father left her named Synergy (51N3RG-Y) and the clues he's left all over the Greater Los Angeles area.

Imitating Pitch Perfect with a teen flare (especially with teen movie queen Molly Ringwald on hand), Jem and the Holograms is yet another dud to arrive at the box office this fall.  Chock full of cheesy ideals that belong on fortune cookies and boasting an undercooked narrative, the film adaptation of the 80's cartoon and toy line is less than impressive.  Jon M. Chu, whose work on the Step Up franchise and G.I. Joe: Retaliation I've come to loathe, is in the director's chair leading this film to mediocrity.  With all of this in mind, I wouldn't be shocked if people opted to spend their money on advanced tickets for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.

The music is decent in Jem and the Holograms, but music can't carry a movie.  From my commentary on the film already, it's safe to say that there isn't much else helping it.  Despite the hammy screenplay, however, there is one other thing going in the film's favor — the cast, for the most part.  For her role as our titular character Jem /Jerrica, Aubrey Peeples delivers an engaging performance as the shy girl who can wear the persona of a rockstar.  Though her character is fairly underdeveloped, she delivers a fairly enjoyable performance.  Her sisters deliver decent performances as well.  Lastly, Juliette Lewis delivers a diva in the form of Erica Raymond on the big screen.

Other than Steve Jobs (which had a limited release prior to this weekend), Jem and the Holograms is probably the best of the bunch arriving at the box office this weekend.  Sadly, that's not saying much.  Formulaic from start to finish, the film can't escape the world of dismal mediocrity Chu creates for it.  Jem and the Holograms gets a 0.09% rating.  Have some whiskey sours with this one.