Barely Scratching a Boy Band’s Surface in One Direction: This Is Us


Morgan Spurlock loves money. His documentaries are fascinated by cheap cheeseburgers, product placement, and freakonomics, and his latest commodity is Brit boy band One Direction, five lads shoved together by Simon Cowell on X-Factor. They can’t dance and they can’t even convince us that they’re fans of their own music, but the boisterous blue-collar quintet are predicted to be the first teen act to make $1 billion. For his 3D flick One Direction: This Is Us, Spurlock spent three months on tour with the guys, whirling from Japan to Norway to Mexico, but doesn’t seem to have asked them a single question besides, “How does it feel to be really, really popular?” Instead, he lumps them together like a box of chicken nuggets. There’s the sporty one, the suave one, the dangerous maverick, and the two prepsters you won’t be able to tell apart until one of them gets fat or comes out of the closet. Even calling the film a documentary feels deluded. Sure, the blokes seem like genuine charmers and the tween screams are ear-splittingly real. But what’s more interesting is everything Spurlock edited out. He doesn’t film the boys within 30 feet of a beer or a girl, and he doesn’t dare broach the idea that half-Pakistani heartthrob Zayn Malik deserves to take a second bow for being the world’s first Tiger Beat Muslim. (And a third bow for patiently enduring accusations that he’s a terrorist.) His story would make a fascinating documentary. Only this time, let Werner Herzog direct it.