In an early scene in "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience," tween idols Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas are ambushed by a herd of squealing girls who surround their car and then pursue them through city streets. This obvious reference to The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" will be lost on most Jonas fans, and many of their parents, no doubt. Which is just as well: No one involved with this latter-day "rockumentary" is trying to draw serious comparisons between the Fab Four and this prefab sibling act.
The nod to the classic Beatles film rather serves to establish a playful, cheeky tone and to reconfirm that this famously gracious trio doesn't take its luck for granted. In contrast with fellow Disney phenom "Miley Cyrus' Best of Both Worlds Concert" (which featured the Jonases), Jonas Brothers doesn't strive to prove its subjects' authenticity as artists and people. There are no heartfelt testimonials from their stage parents, no accounts of how their punchy hit songs reflect real-life experience.
There is ample behind-the-scenes footage, but the only folks we really meet, aside from an amusing group of impersonators — "The Jonas Brothers are living the dream; we're dreaming the life," one quips — are spellbound, occasionally hysterical admirers and ever-present bodyguard "Big Rob" Feggans, who raps on the single Burnin' Up.
Feggans, whose previous clients include Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, is a key presence, a literally larger-than-life comic foil who reinforces both the siblings' regular-guy humility and their mind-boggling celebrity. Moments after shoving them out of their hotel beds like a drill sergeant, he shows up in a helicopter to rescue them from adoring throngs.
When not performing, the Jonases come across as either goofily blasé or still stunned by their good fortune, a mix that can seem incongruous and at times disingenuous. Surveying a mobbed Times Square on the eve of their album release, they're as giddy as their fans; but when Joe is caught taking his shirt off in their dressing room, he faces the camera with the practiced mock disapproval of a veteran star.
Joe, 19, threatens to overshadow the younger, more boyish Nick throughout the movie. On stage, the middle Jonas struts and swaggers like a Mick Jagger impersonator and glowers like a student auditioning for Hamlet. When ex-flame Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato have guest turns, he's the most aggressive flirt.
Parents need not be concerned, though: The fantasy that the Jonases are peddling is still decidedly G-rated. The greatest sense of danger or tension in this film derives from the digital 3-D technology, which provides closer, more lovingly detailed views than the most expensive seats — and makes it appear as if objects from sunglasses to a police baton are lunging out at you.
The threat may be as illusory as the thrills in Jonas Brothers are contrived. But that won't stop Jonas junkies from enjoying their magical mystery tour.