Jem and the Holograms review

Jon M. Chu
Aubrey Peeples
Ryan Guzman
Juliette Lewis
Stefanie Scott
Rated: PG

Jerrica (Peeples) is a young girl living with her aunt, sister Kimber (Scott) and two cousins Shana (Perrineau) and Aja (Kiyoko). While Jerrica is shy, she does have great musical talent and one day, under the disguise of Jem, records herself playing an original song.

After Kimber uploads the Jem video to Youtube, Jerrica’s alter ego becomes a sensation in the music industry. But the situation gets complicated when she has to start dealing with Erica Raymond (Lewis), the head of a huge music label.

Generic. That is the best, and basically only word needed to describe “Jem and the Holograms.” It’s a basic band story which includes all the tropes. The manager who pretends to care about the talent but really cares for money, the musicians’ first act, eventual tension in the band and a deus ex machina later on.

It’s all there. If you’ve watched movies such as “Josie and the Pussycats” from 2001, you’ve more or less seen this movie. The film does have a bit of a sci-fi element since there is a hologram displaying robot featured, however, the movie doesn’t do enough with it.

A positive aspect from “Jem and the Holograms” is the incorporation of social media. The film utilizes platforms such as Youtube, Instagram and others to advance the story and this aspect added some uniqueness to the picture.

The acting in “Jem” is fairly hit or miss. The younger members of the cast don’t exactly give the performances of a lifetime, but some of their family moments do feel genuine. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the on screen romance between Jerrica and the character Rio, played by Ryan Guzman.

As previously stated, the film features a generic manager character played by Juliette Lewis. Despite Lewis having some fun with the role, the character is just way too over the top and offers nothing to the picture as a whole.

Director Jon Chu does have some experience in musical films, having helmed a few of the “Step Up” films. At the very least, the guy knows how to make music scenes and it shows in “Jem” since the singing moments are some of the more memorable.

“Jem and the Holograms” doesn’t have much going for it, with most of the story and characters being simple archetypes. On top of that, I’ve heard the film isn’t very faithful to the source material. There are some good moments during the musical scenes, though, and younger audiences should be entertained. 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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