Movie review: One Direction shows prefab image in 'This Is Us'

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Sure, the concert documentary "One Direction: This Is Us" is a feature-length informercial for the British boy band, but acknowledging the sales pitch doesn't mean the snow job isn't entertaining.

The film weaves live performances of a dozen of the band's songs, saving the hit "What Makes You Beautiful" for last, with behind-the-scenes looks at the five lads having fun on their first world tour. There's some backstory, as when impresario Simon Cowell describes how he picked the teens from the rejected finalists on the UK version of "The X Factor" and launched them as a unit.

Fans will eat this stuff up with a spoon, while any stray nonfans will likely spend the movie gauging the bubblegum tunes and matching faces to names. (By the end, I could finally tell bandmates Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson apart.)

Director Morgan Spurlock, whose specialty is deconstructing corporate marketing machinery ("Super Size Me," "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold"), turns out to be a smart choice to build the band's image as cool but down-to-earth guys — though their antics can't hold a candle to the giddy chaos The Beatles exhibited in "A Hard Day's Night."; —


'One Direction: This Is Us'

Opens Friday, Aug. 30, at theaters everywhere; rated PG for mild language; 92 minutes.