A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids is a concert film, starring pop star Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids -- the singers, dancers, and musicians who accompany him. Filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the final performance of Timberlake's 2015 20/20 Experience World Tour, the show thrilled 16,500 fans at the MGM Grand Hotel. It's a light show, a dance show, and a brilliantly produced catalogue of the singer's pop hits, mostly from The 20/20 Experience and The 20/20 Experience, 2 of 2. Other than a brief introduction to some of Timberlake's talented Tennessee Kids, the movie simply, and magnificently, films the concert. It's a nonstop musical extravaganza, with none of the star banter or guest performers that so often pepper concerts like this one. Caution to parents: While the lyrics are mostly hard to decipher for newcomers to Timberlake's music, several of the songs are provocative. They refer to seduction, making love, drinking, and getting high and occasionally use coarse language ("ass," "s--t," "f--k"). Timberlake's fans, of course, are familiar with the lyrics; it's all very clear to them, and they sing along with passion.
What's the story?
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE + THE TENNESSEE KIDS is a concert film from start to finish. Other than an early introduction of the talented members of his team -- singers, dancers, musicians -- there are no behind-the-scenes interviews, no personal stories, just music, music, music. There are more than two dozen songs, most delivered as production numbers extraordinaire with accompanying dancing, backup vocals, remarkable instrumentation, and spectacular light show. And Justin Timberlake does it all. One can only imagine how restful it must be for him to play the piano or the guitar and not occupy the entire stage for just a few minutes. Because those are the only breaks he takes.
Is it any good?
Director Jonathan Demme films every moment of Justin Timberlake's magnetic 2015 Las Vegas concert and creates an experience that's the next best thing to being there. Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids is slick, intense, and exciting and fills the screen with Timberlake's exhilarating talent. Everyone on stage is giving it his or her all for the entire 90-minute event. Demme, well known for his beautifully executed concert films, beginning with the iconic Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense, then Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Kenny Chesney, has a way with a camera (in this case, multi-multi-cameras) and an editing team that seems unsurpassable. Pop star/actor Justin Timberlake might seem an unlikely choice for Demme, but the movie proves that the director continues to make inspired choices. Timberlake is worth all the effort and care. Caution for parents: Some lyrics, though not clearly heard, reflect sensuality, sexuality, drinking, and contain some coarse language.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the value of concert films such as Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids for wide audiences. Given the very few cities that host the events and the very high ticket prices, do you see such films as important for both artists and fans? In what ways does the movie help the artist, and in what ways do viewers benefit? Would you like to see more films like this one?
How do you see Justin Timberlake as a role model? How does an artist's personal life affect his work? In what ways does this concert reflect Timberlake's image as talented and as a "good guy" rather than as a "celebrity"?
For kids, how important is it for a song's lyric to be appropriate to their age? Do you think parents should allow more leeway for music than other media forms? Why, or why not?
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