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Rose-tinted look into life of 'normal guys' ; CINEMA One Direction: This Is Us 3D [PG} Genre: Documentary/Musical [Sentinel, The (Stoke-on-Trent, England)]

August 30, 2013


DIRECTED by Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame, One Direction: This Is Us is the story of five lads - Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Holmes Chapel's Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson - and their rise to fame. Except, sadly, this is not their full story, warts and all.

There's footage of the boys performing on stage including vaguely pointless graphics, mucking around backstage, winding down post- show on the tour bus and relaxing in their hotel rooms. And yes, at one point we see Styles's boxer shorts.

We also occasionally see the boys exploring the cities that they fleetingly visit. When they're able to, that is.

During one trip they are spotted by a group of fans and the boys have to be locked in a shop, protected from the mass of hysterical girls.

Fans feature heavily in Spurlock's film, as they have done in the boys' careers.

Never has the phrase 'We wouldn't be here without you' rung so true.

One Direction fans can be obsessive, although they prefer 'dedicated'. Statistics shows that four million people in the UK call themselves Directioners - these are the uber-fans, who endlessly tweet about the boys and spend their spare pennies following the band. During the film, some of these fans are asked what it is they love about the boys. They say that One Direction make them feel happy and they love that they're just normal guys.

This is a key message of the film - One Direction are a regular bunch of lads. What the film is missing though, is any kind of glimpse into the boys' lives outside the band. No girlfriends are seen or rumours addressed. There's no sex or drugs, or rock n' roll for that matter, and we get the feeling that we're being sold a rose- tinted view of the boys' lives, hardly surprising given that Simon Cowell is a producer on the film.

Having said that, there are revealing interviews with the boys' families. Teary-eyed mothers tell how their sons went to The X Factor auditions and never returned - they're a strange mix of incredibly proud and very sad. One particularly poignant interview sees Payne's father detailing the moments he has missed with his son.

This is a hard film to rate. It's 92 minutes of One Direction, so surely fans of the band will love it.

But what about non-Directioners? Director Spurlock has said that he challenges anyone to go to the film and not like the boys afterwards. It's a fair point.

Having said that, with One Direction tipped to be the first billion dollar boy band and the film estimated to break UK box office records, perhaps criticism is pointless anyway.

IN A NUTSHELL Swearing: No Sex: No Violence: No Rating: 6.5/10

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