The faraway rumblings have now become ominous, earthshaking footsteps as the tuneful, three-headed monster that is the Jonas Brothers arrives at America’s doorstep. Tonight marks the premiere of Camp Rock, and tomorrow we’ll wake up in a changed world. In all likelihood, nothing can save us from Disney’s follow-up to the squillion-dollar success of High School Musical, which has already funded the retirements of twenty generations of Efrons, but the nation’s critics are bravely taking a stand in one final attempt to stem the inevitable Jonas Revolution.
The New York Times’ Neil Genzlinger says that Camp Rock fails to capture the “complex and varied” nature of real life in high school. We haven’t yet seen Camp Rock, but we’re willing to bet that it also fails to capture the fact that real life in high school rarely includes spontaneous outbreaks of song. At the Washington Post, Jennifer Frey speaks to the young people in their own language by proclaiming the movie “pretty lame.” She also points out that Camp Rock is “way too predictable to be worth watching more than once.” (Aren’t you over predictability when you’re seeing a movie more than once?) USA Today’s Robert Bianco delivers perhaps the unkindest cut of all by calling Camp Rock “not as well written, acted, sung, danced, directed or choreographed” as High School Musical. Does that not speak to the danger?
Of course, there’s also Robert Lloyd of the L.A. Times who, semi-understandably we suppose, submits to the inevitable and attempts to win the favor of the Jonases; he says Camp “isn’t dumb” and that it’s “good at what it does.” Is it good enough for a Cabinet position in the Jonas-led America of tomorrow? Only time will tell.
Overall, the critical community is doing its level best to spread the news that Camp Rock is not, in fact, all that good. So when it gets its own sequel, workout video, ice show, big-cat circus act, and zombie army, it won’t be because no one rang the warning bell. —Linda Holmes