Glee The Concert Movie

Emma Salkild's film review of Glee the Concert Movie, published in The Brag

The show may be in-between seasons, but the producers are doing all they can to ram down our throats the colossal phenomenon that is Glee. This 90-minute 3D documentary is cut from this year’s Glee Live! summer concert tour. The pacing is fast and it has a crowd-pleasing mix of feel-good fan stories, clips of backstage character in-jokes, and a “diverse” range of songs – from Britney’s skanky ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’ to Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and Barbara Streisand’s ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’. Amy Winehouse is probably flipping in her grave at the ‘Valerie’ rendition where the cast don colourful skirts and do an upbeat swing dance.

This film not only reeks of merchandise, it is merchandise. In case diehard fans want to know what else they can purchase, one girl lists all her Glee paraphernalia, including board games, clothes and shoes, and friends she made from online Glee forums. She also has a Glee tattoo, and her cat, dog and car are named after the show’s characters. You’d think she was a freak, but then again she is a Gleek so, like GaGa’s Little Monsters, it’d be a letdown if the fans weren’t a little nuts.

If, like me, when you watch Glee you fast-forward the songs to get to the good bits (Jane Lynch playing the awesomeness that is Sue Sylvester) you’re going to be disappointed. Even though she features in the trailer, there’s no trace of the conniving saboteur. Also MIA is Mr Schuester, but there’s a cameo by commitment-phobic substitute teacher Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow). This choice is mystifying, as is the backstage banter between characters: main stars Finn, Quinn, Puck and Kurt don’t get a look in, while smaller characters Arty (Kevin McHale) and Brittany S. Piers (Heather Morris) are cracking jokes left, right and centre. Could this be because they’re the only actors who can improvise?

Overall, it’s hard not to get caught up in the “embrace being different” and “I’m a loser and I’m okay” sentiments. The three main stories intertwined through the film follow a short-statured cheerleader, a girl with Asperger’s, and an out-and-proud gay boy. The moral of their stories is that Glee has helped them accept who they are and given them the confidence to shine… blah blah. It’s all-American cheese, but the tales are engaging and you back these kids anyway. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself, right? Teen angst is so ’90s.

Published in The Brag in print and online on August 15, 2011

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