(2011)2.5Perry SeibertFor those who just can't get enough Glee -- the kind of people who've actually bought the close to a dozen soundtracks that have been released -- Glee: The 3D Concert Movie will be exactly what they want. Haven't had enough of Lea Michele doing "Don't Rain on My Parade"? Don't worry, it's here. You want Mark Salling to rock out? Yep, that's here too in the form of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." Have you stopped believing there'll be another group performance of "Don't Stop Believin'"? Well, Gleeks, keep the faith -- it opens the whole movie.
In an attempt to give the film an identity beyond a blatant attempt to squeeze even more money from the fan base, director Kevin Tancharoen showcases three teenagers whose lives have improved immeasurably because of the popular Fox television show. There's a high-school cheerleader and Prom Princess who also happens to be a dwarf, a girl suffering from Asperger's who's fixated on the character Brittany (Heather Morris), and a 19-year-old guy who was outed in the eighth grade. While these three stories are obviously feel-good, uplifting tales of surviving hardships, it's tough to accept that these teens wouldn't have found themselves were it not for a TV show.
There are numerous on-camera testimonials from fans waiting to go into the concert. They swear that the show helps them forge an identity and remember that even people who seem to be popular and successful probably feel like misfits and losers themselves. If ever there was an ode to the joys of conformity through nonconformity, this movie is it.
While we're on the topic of role models on the show, it's striking that all of the guys on Glee -- certainly all the guys in any of the singing groups -- are either super fit or super thin. This is less noticeable on the show itself, where the individual plotlines define the characters as much as their physiques. But if Glee is all about high-school misfits finding their identities, why are there no fat white guys? Seriously, guys in New Directions can be disabled, gay, dumb, or drug-taking, mohawk-wearing a-holes, but apparently you're not allowed to sing and dance if you're a dude with any extra poundage whatsoever.
The movie isn't supposed to be a social treatise, though -- it's a concert movie, and there are a handful of highly entertaining numbers. Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Naya Rivera (Santana) bring down the house with a rousing "River Deep, Mountain High," Heather Morris delivers a Britney Spears-esque performance that proves she should simply leave Glee and take over the role of the real Britney Spears, and Cory Monteith charms his way through "Jessie's Girl" -- the kind of song so catchy it's hard to screw it up.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie won't win over any new fans, but it does make you wish that the show's mastermind, Ryan Murphy, might actually try a straight-up silver-screen musical with the cast rather than settle for this forgettable product.