One Direction breaks boy band stereotype in ‘This Is Us’

EDGE - One Direction movie poster

After the demise of the Jonas Brothers empire and the rise of the Bieber regime, it seemed like it would be a while until the next teen heartthrobs made their way into the music industry. Justin took over Twitter, the radio and the world – even non-Beliebers can attest to the singer’s worldwide popularity.

But as it turns out, we didn’t have to wait long for the next teen phenomenon. After Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik auditioned independently for “The X Factor UK” in 2010, the world of boy bands changed forever.

Their perfect hair and cheeky smiles might fool you, but One Direction means business. Just watch the group’s new film, “This Is Us,” to see what I mean. They’re unlike any boy band I’ve ever seen – and as a professional fangirl, I’ve seen it all.

These boys don’t dance. They’re covered in tattoos. They don’t coordinate their outfits. Horan plays guitar. And they’re fully aware of the fact that they’re not making life-changing or inspiring records – just feel-good, catchy pop music. Technically, they’re doing it wrong. That’s not the formula most boy bands follow. But considering the group is on its way to becoming the first billion-dollar boy band, whatever the boys are doing is working.

“This Is Us” documents everything the boys have achieved since taking third place in “The X Factor UK,” where Simon Cowell first put them together as a group. Since 2010, they’ve debuted at No. 1 in the U.S. (the first UK act to do so, not even the Beatles managed that feat), won several awards including VMAs and Brits, and sold out world tours.

Through individual interviews with each of the band’s members – as well as interviews with family members – “This Is Us” shows fans what it’s like to be part of One Direction. Although most of the movie consists of the boys making their body guards’ lives impossible, there are also several emotional moments: Tomlinson’s mom talks about how Louis has only been home five times since 2010; Payne’s dad explains how he feels as though he has nothing left to teach Liam, considering he’s now a famous pop star who has traveled the world; and the boys reflect on what life will be like after One Direction.

Unlike past 3-D concert films, “This Is Us” gives more of a behind-the-scenes perspective. Rather than filling up time with concert footage, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock gives fans what they want: a look at what life is like on the road and on the band’s tour bus, the boys outrunning security by hijacking a golf cart and Harry Styles walking around his hotel room in just boxers.

Fans will leave the theater squealing and anyone who was dragged along to see the movie will gain respect for the five boys who have undoubtedly changed the game for boy bands.

Rating: 3.5/4 stars

Starring: Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson
Directed By: Morgan Spurlock
MPAA Rating: PG