If you’re one of the three people who saw Jem and the Holograms and enjoyed it, we have some devastating news for you. Universal announced it will pull the film—a “reboot” of the ’80s cartoon—after only two weeks in theaters. Why so short? Well, the flick has only grossed $2.2 million thus far, and its budget was $5 million. In other words, Jem flopped on virtually every level possible.
I saw the movie a few weeks ago and found myself cringing at every line of forced, saccharine-filled dialogue. (At one point, walking abs Ryan Guzman actually spewed out alliteration to comfort an upset Jem, played by Aubrey Peeples.) I’m a sucker for sappy, feel-good tearjerkers, but Jem didn’t even reach that level. It was just bad, cheesy and annoying as hell.
But there was one saving grace to Jem and the Holograms: Its kick-ass soundtrack. Before you throw stones, hear me out. Yes, the music doesn’t exactly hit the stride of its glam source material, but it’s still an enjoyable collection of addictive, punchy bubblegum pop. Whenever I came close to walking out of the theater, Jem and her gals hit me with a catchy tune that kept me in my seat—and from tearing my eyes out. Here are the five best tracks on the soundtrack:
Shiny pop icon goddess Hilary Duff makes an appearance on the soundtrack’s magnum opus, a seismic pop anthem with a relentless chorus and Cher-style “Whoa-oh-oh-ohs” at practically every turn. It’s an unabashedly glitzy dance jam that definitely rivals the offerings from Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato.
“Hit Me Up”
This pulsating rock/pop gem (pun intended) recalls Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive” aesthetic but with a noticeably glossier finish. Stefanie Scott (who plays Kimber) demolishes the vocals with strength akin to a seasoned pro, not an 18-year-old.
“Alone Together” is a much-needed breather from Jem’s uptempo flare. Ms. Peeples’ sultry, nuanced vocals glide smoothly over a soft guitar beat. It’s the type of coffee house soul you wouldn’t expect in a frothy teen romp, but you’re so glad it’s there.
“We Got Heart”
“We Got Heart,” sung sans instruments in the film, gives the Bellas from Pitch Perfect a serious run for their money. Try listening to this without tapping your feet. It’s damn near impossible!
“I’m Still Here”
There is a bubbling energy to this track, the final number in the film. It never quite takes off to orgasmic chorus heaven, but something about that resistance is intriguing and worth repeated listening. Again, Aubrey’s voice slays with absoluely no delay.