Star Rating:

Jem and The Holograms

Director: Jon M. Chu

Actors: Stefanie Scott, Aubrey Peeples, Aurora Perrineau

Release Date: Friday 12th February 2016

Genre(s): Drama

Running time: 118 minutes

This big-screen adaptation of the 80's cartoon bombed at the box-office when it was released in the US a few months back, leaving producers scratching their heads. They must've felt like they'd the perfect storm for a tween sensation; talented young cast who can belt out a tune and a director who has had huge success in this kind of field before - Jon Chu.

While overly familiar and generally by-the-numbers, the surprisingly catchy tunes manage to make Jem a tolerable watch for anyone long past puberty. That said, those who recall the original series will be hard pushed to find that nostalgia factor.

Jem is a character created by insular youngster Jerrica (an engaging Aubrey Peeples), when her Aunt (Molly Ringwald) finds out that the house where she and her sister and two foster siblings grew up will have to be sold. After vlogging a self-penned song about her feelings in disguise as 'Jem' she becomes a viral sensation and is noticed by LA's answer to Louis Walsh, Erica (Juliette Lewis). But while Jerrica's intentions are noble, she soon realises the deep perils of fame.

The hook here (for anyone born before the mid-90s) is that artists are now pretty much discovered via YouTube. It happened to Justin Beiber, it happened to The Weeknd and it happens to the 20-somethings masquerading as teenagers in this film. There is an attempt at a deeper narrative involving a dead parent and that's really the film's weakest point. Granted, it was never going to not have a 'message' but it's been done so many times before it's cliched. The forced romance with an offensively handsome band handler (Ryan Guzman) is a close second, mind.

All of that said, there's some fun to be had here. Particularly with the musical numbers. Granted, there could've been more but Chu shines when staging them and Peeples as an easy sweetness and obvious talent.