What’s the opposite of warts-n-all? ‘No warts’ doesn’t even begin to describe Morgan Spurlock’s fly-on-the-wall film about One Direction. No warts, no acne – there’s not even a pimple on the butt of this on-tour portrait of the reality-bred boy popsters (girlfriends or boyfriends or whatever, have been airbrushed out entirely). The director is Morgan Spurlock – the man who took on McDonald’s in ‘Super Size Me’. But you won’t find an anti-corporate message here. This is relentlessly on-message, crammed full of cheeky shirtless moments for fans of Harry Styles, Zayn and the three fillers.
Does it dispel the rumour that 1D are a bunch of charisma-free, talentless pop puppets? Yes and no. Give Simon Cowell an Oscar for his botox-assisted surprise-face talking about the 1D ‘phenomenon’. The boys come across surprisingly well – un-brattish, hard working, puppy-dog sweet, bit self-obsessed. They’re well-trained. ‘We try to stay away from the typical boy band thing,’ says Zayn, insisting they’re not packaged up like iced-buns for 12-year-old girls. Next door Harry is having a row with a stylist. ‘I don’t like the trench.’ Stylist: ‘That’s the Harry look.’
Spurlock ruthlessly goes for the heart-strings by taking the boys back to their home towns. Harry gets his bum pinched by a granny in the bakery where he worked on Saturdays. Zayn’s mum is in tears walking into the house he bought her. There are a couple of Spurlock moments. The band look blank when Martin Scorsese pops his head backstage in New York (tween-age daughter in tow). There’s a priceless ‘Zoolander’ scene, where Zayn shows off the graffiti room in his new house.
The film is as harmless as the band. Until you reach the music. One Direction are bearable with a cover song – Wheatus’s ‘Teenage Dirtbag'. But the sugary-sweet, she-doesn’t-love-me-back tracks really hurt. In ‘Super Size Me’, Spurlock’s McDonald’s-only diet had him vomming on screen. These songs test your gag reflexes in other ways.