Case Number 18109: Small Claims Court

JONAS: I HEART JONAS

Disney // 2009 // 155 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // January 18th, 2010

The Charge

"Are you ready to rock and roll?"

The Case

I Heart Jonas is the second DVD collection of episodes from the Disney Channel series starring clean-cut boy band the Jonas Brothers. Starring Joe, Kevin, and Nick Jonas as themselves, Jonas is a modern day The Monkees for tweens, filled with goofy antics, fourth-wall breaking non-sequitirs, and sight gags. And why not? Nostaligia aside, The Monkees weren't garage band rockers; they were cobbled together to star in a TV show. Whatever you think of the Jonas phenomenon, at least they write their own songs. Perhaps a better comparison for the Jonas Brothers series would be to The Beatles' movies, especially Help!; The Jonas apartment looks a whole lot like the Fab Four's shared pad, down to Nick's bed, which is recessed into the floor just like John Lennon's. Now before any rogue Beatles fans send me death threats, let me separate the music from the pop phenomenon. Good looking, non-threatening boy bands have always appealed to key teen demographics, and the Jonas Brothers are no exception. Expertly groomed by Disney, starting with their appearance in the movie Camp Rock, the bros are the perfect collective face for the network. At least, that's how it seems to this frumpy old reviewer.

The seven episode collection Jonas: I Heart Jonas is my first experience with the Jonas Brothers. It will probably also be my last, but that's not a reflection on the show. I popped in the disc expecting to be horrified, but I actually enjoyed myself. As mentioned above -- and, frankly, elsewhere -- Jonas has a lot in common with The Monkees' self-titled TV show. Set in a caricatured version of its young stars' lives, these TV Jonases are normal teens who attend a private high school, as well as famous rockers who tour, get interviewed by major magazines, and even meet the Queen. The brothers all play caricatured versions of themselves. Kevin is the buffoon, Nick the quiet voice of reason, and Joe the lovesick frontman. Not that he'd admit it, of course. All of the episodes in I Heart Jonas deal with Joe's relationship to the band's stylist/best friend Stella (Chelsea Staub, Minutemen). Their mutual, unspoken crush isn't exactly a will-they-won't-they of Moonlighting or The Office proportions. Still, the couple is cute and the situations wacky enough to inspire some OMG moments for fans. Also guaranteed to melt many a tween heart are the musical numbers, which include songs like "Love Sick," "Why," and "Give Love a Try."

I Heart Jonas's seven entries are all from the show's first season, and break down like so:

* "Fashion Victim"
A jealous Joe sabotages Stella's date with his rival, Van Dyke (Chuck Hittinger, Numb3rs), so she enlists his brothers to help pull a prank that will teach him a lesson...in front of the Queen of England.

* "Love Sick"
Joe is so eager to prove that he and Stella are "just friends" that he breaks several non-dates with her. When he realizes how much he's hurt her, he agrees to go to the big basketball game with her, even though he's sick and the boys are scheduled to go on a live TV show the next morning.

* "Three Musketeers"
Kevin convinces his brothers to audition for the school play. They get the leads, but Joe gets cold feet and quits, so Van Dyke steps in to fill his place.

* "Karaoke Surprise"
To celebrate their 15-year friend-a-versary with Stella, Joe and his brothers plan a surprise party for her. Unfortunately, Stella misinterprets Joe's sneaking around with her best friend Macy (Nicole Gale Anderson, Make It or Break It) and gets jealous.

* "Frantic Romantic"
Joe is shocked to find himself romantically linked to an up-and-coming actress in the tabloids. When it turns out she planned the whole thing to help her career, the Jonases have to come up with a creative way to get rid of her.

* "Forgetting Stella's Birthday"
The brothers are so busy preparing for an interview with a famous music critic that they forget Stella's birthday and have to come up with a plan to smooth things over.

* "Double Date"
Joe's inability to deal with his feelings for Stella send her into the arms of Van Dyke, who asks her to go to dinner with him. Jealous, Joe asks Macy to go to the same restaurant so he can keep an eye on Stella.

Jonas has solid acting, decent writing, and a cohesive style, but what I like most about it is that there's no laugh track. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it proves that its creators respect the viewer. It would be hard to add a laugh track to this show anyway. There are so many different kinds of gags. Perhaps the best thing about the show for parents, anyway, is that you don't have to know anything about the Jonas Brothers to watch. Chances are your kids will fill you in on the deets anyway.

The first Jonas DVD collection, Jonas: Rockin' The House, had a pair of "bonus episodes" in addition to the five that made up the collection. I Heart Jonas doesn't pull that tomfoolery. Instead of giving regular episodes "bonus" status, it gives viewers everything in one place. Too bad they didn't use that extra space for more bonus features. This disc has one extra, "You've Just Been JoBro'd!" (you have no idea how painful it was to type that out), in which the brothers pull a prank on American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, just like they did to co-star Chelsea Staub on the previous DVD. The copy of the DVD I got also came with three Jonas Brothers magnets that my wife told me I can't put on the refrigerator.

It should be obvious but I'll say it anyway: I Heart Jonas isn't for everyone. But it is better than you might think, which is good news for on-the-fence parents of Jonas superfans. The real shame is that those parents are getting nickel and dimed on these mini-collections instead of being able to buy their kids a full season set. That is so not Jonas!

The Verdict

The court kinda hearts Jonas after all.

Review content copyright © 2010 Erich Asperschlager; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: Disney
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)

Running Time: 155 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurette
* Collectibles

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1044418/combined

* Official Site
http://tv.disney.go.com/disneychannel/jonas/

* JonasBrothers.com
http://www.jonasbrothers.com/