The 1980s cartoon called “Jem” was about an all-girl glam rock band that travelled the world solving mysteries and one-upping a rival girl band called The Misfits while foiling the schemes of their evil record producer. The flamboyant leader of the band, Jem, was actually a quiet girl named Jerrica Benton who used a holographic computer called Synergy to disguise herself as Jem and produce extravagant shows. The 2015 film adaptation has absolutely fuck all to do with what I just described to you.
This is the equivalent of someone stealing the logo and hubcaps of a BMW and slapping them on a Chevy Nova. The filmmakers probably had some rise-to-fame story of a girl band that was meant for the Disney Channel before being scrapped for the songs being too shit. But the studio picked up the script, slapped the names of Jem related characters onto it and called it a day. As you could have already tell, I’m not exactly in love with this film.
So we start off with some mousey looking girl named Jerrica living with her aunt, sister and two adopted sisters when on a whim, Jerrica records herself playing a generic sad pop song while dressed in pink hair calling herself “Jem.” The video (out of the thousands and thousands uploaded each day) goes viral and accumulates a womping 30,000 hits overnigh and she’s a multimedia sensation the following morning.. yeah 30,000 is hardly a dent in the pop culture psyche. Especially funnier when you see the trailer that shows the video accumulated 24 million hits overnight (still unrealistic but at least sensible).
Anyways, this shitty ass video gets the attention of the biggest record mogul, Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis slumming it after The Walking Dead’s Lorrie) who whisks Jerrica and her sisters away to Los Angeles to become “rock stars.” And she sets them up with her hunky son, who is TOTALLY a college student you guys, named Rio (motherfucker looks like he’s in his early 30s). Not like it matters, Jerrica and her two adopted sisters look like late 20s, though Jerrica’s sister looks like she’s 14 even as they the movie fails to convince you all they’re all 17.
So this plot sounds stupid as shit already, but oh wait! We haven’t talked about Synergy yet! Here she’s actually a BB-8 knockoff called 51n3rg.y (don’t even start) made by her dad who doesn’t do any of the shit Synergy did back in the cartoon. As we’ve established, the Jem persona is just something Jerrica made up on the fly and was hyped up to high heaven by her mogul with wigs and makeup. So Synergy here (not gonna use the film’s name for self-evident reasons) basically serves as a map for a treasure hunt for Jerrica and her crew to find missing pieces to Synergy’s own body that will do…something. Jerrica isn’t sure what her dad left her, but she finds all the pieces by solving video game-esque puzzles (like some Uncharted shit) in places hidden by her dad.
Quick question, why the fuck would Jerrica’s dad hide all the pieces to this robot? Better question: why the fuck would he hide the pieces in places she wouldn’t even be around? For ostensibly his “greatest creation”? Fucked if I know, because the movie reveals once all the parts to Synergy are collected, out comes a hologram of Jerrica’s dad who tells her how amazing and awesome she is…that’s it. Oh yeah, he remembers at the very end that he says he also loves Jerrica’s sister, but JEM, she was totally the shit.
Oh yes, I should also mention a completely pointless heist scene in the middle of this six lane pile up, that is literally the most pointless heist of all time. Jem wants to steal back her cheap plastic earrings from the mogul (who has no knowledge of their value or importance), and breaks into her safe that also conveniently has Rio’s dad’s will that imparts the company to him and not her mom (again you don’t believe this motherfucker is her son, more like a cougar’s fuckboy).
But yeah the whole “hologram” portion of the movie called Jem and the fucking Holograms is limited to a “you’re the best daughter ever” greeting card that’s both tone – deaf and utterly pointless. They only even mention the word “hologram” at the very end (because I know all of you are just dying to see this and wouldn’t want spoilers) when fucking creepy pedo, Rio, names the band “Jem and the Holograms” after seeing Synergy fucking around with holograms. That’s it. So yeah, not even the name belongs to the girls, it has to be bestowed by some shit head.
And that goes to one of the more frustrating parts about the movie, Jerrica has fuck all agency. Events are driven by other people’s actions, not hers. Even her rise to the stardom is because her sister uploaded a video of her to youtube. Meanwhile the film is plastered in youtube clips likely from fans of the real Jem cartoon talking about how much Jem means to them and how she has inspired them….over the course of about a month and three or four shitty ass pop songs.
The youtube theme actually permeates throughout the entire film. Apropos of nothing, the film will just randomly shove in actual youtube clips (in all their poor video quality) of people demonstrating their musical talents. And while many of them are indeed talented, there is no fucking reason for them in this damn movie. Not only that, we get scene transitions through Google Earth (LITERALLY Google Earth, as you can fucking see the logo in the bottom right corner!) with completely separate references to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc slammed in the dialogue.
And just when you’d think that this crap script couldn’t get worse, the film whips out some petroleum jelly and lubes some lifted quotes from the original cartoon’s theme song and forces them into the dialogue. Loudly I yelled “fuck you” in my theater upon hearing this (relax, my theater was completely empty save for me and my girlfriend loudly heckling this movie).
I never even watched this cartoon was a kid, hell I don’t even think I watched a rerun. But nonetheless, reading up on the subject and hearing friends describe the show to me made me at least curious and actually hopeful that such a film adaptation could indeed work. But after seeing those trailers? No, all hope was jettisoned out the nearest airlock left to suffocate in deep space.
God damn. There is so much bullshit to parse through and I still don’t think I’ve adequately explained how terrible this fucking movie is. Dialgoue? Crap. Plot? Insultingly moronic. The music? It made me want to take a pneumatic drill to my ear drums to escape the pain. Nothing fucking worked.
And it didn’t have to be this way. This abortion was served up by Hasbro. That FUCKING company still has billions from those awful Transformers orgies of special effects, but they didn’t want to spend a dime on this shit and had it to be funded by Jason Blum. That FUCKING guy is single handedly responsible for several of the worst movies this year: The Gallows, The Visit, and The Boy Next Door (also featuring Rio’s actor as a 19 year old but once again looking like he’s in mid fucking thirties). More importantly, he’s a penny pincher who farted out $5 million for a budget to hope this film draws in four times that amount. Fuck this guy.
I’m giving this the biggest middle finger I can summon. Not just because it’s a boring, poorly made television movie masquerading in theaters, but because the filmmakers had a chance to make some really cool with a promising idea and squander it to make a quick buck.
FUCK THIS MOVIE.