The musical group known as
The Brit sensations pride themselves on being, as one member calls them, "a cool boy band" mocking choreographed dance moves and playing a rock-oriented pop over the more typical boy band pop-flavored R&B. They conform to certain personality archetypes, with
All of which makes documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock a theoretically inspired choice to make the combo-pack concert doc and band history of "This Is Us." Spurlock's documentaries such as "Super Size Me" have a subversive sensibility and showman's panache that should match up with the behind-the-scenes horseplay of the boys' adventures on tour, but ultimately, the film feels anonymous. Interchangeable somewhat with other recent concert docs surveying the likes of
The group is both a purposeful, manufactured phenomenon and a somewhat spontaneous occurrence, because the five individual members were all booted from a televised British singing competition only to be assembled by Svengali producer
The movie steers clear of dealing with the boys' lives as tabloid stars, with no mention, for example, of Styles' short, intensely documented romance with musician
The group's latest hit single declares itself the "Best Song Ever," and that sort of odd predetermination seems to percolate throughout One Direction's story. The boys don't dance, they aren't particularly interested in their singing, and they seem only nominally invested in their music. So what do they do? Can youthful cuteness be a skill and vocation? "One Direction: This Is Us" leaves the larger questions it points toward teasingly unexplored, making the film little more than a harmless keepsake.
'One Direction: This Is Us'
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Playing: In general release