"Remember the Backstreet Boys?"
How bad can a documentary about former Masters of Pop and stealers of teenage girls’ hearts, The Backstreet Boys, really be? At one hour 50 minutes, you’d think it’d cover their rise, subsequent fall and all the relationship dynamics of a mega famous boy band, right? Firstly, it’s actually amazing how bad this documentary is and secondly, you’d be wrong, because it covers none of the above.
Remember the Backstreet Boys? I’m 24, so during their global domination between 1993-2002, I would have been their prime audience, but remember them being a slightly odd version of *NSYNC. Nick Carter was the curtain-haired pretty boy; Brian, the slightly too cheekboney one; Kevin always looked about 45; always looking way to keen was Howie; and A.J., the rock star, who somehow didn’t seem to realise he was in a boy band and not The Offspring.
Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of covers their entire career, including their 2013 album In A World Like This and the world tour they are about to embark on. Except, while that sounds kind of interesting, that’s not really what this documentary covers or focuses on.
Throughout, we’re peppered by the boys revisiting their past, their white trash homes or their old dance schools. This would be fine if it didn’t take up the majority of the movie. As much as I want to hear about how Howie lived on a certain road in Florida and always wanted to be in show business, it seems this is made for mega fans that care about this kind of tedious stuff.
When the interesting chapters of their history are touched upon, it’s immediately cut short in place of yet another nostalgia flashback of Nick Carter crying because a teacher tells him he had a great voice when he was a kid. Why the heck is he crying? We simply don’t know. A great example of this is the casual mention that the Backstreet Boys creator/manager was Lou Pearlman, a boy band mogul who was later exposed as fronting the longest running Ponzi scheme in American history, which is interesting as hell.
In other sections, Howie talks about a long, deep-seated resentment about being pushed to the back. Meanwhile, Nick and A.J. both had serious drug and alcohol issues, but why can’t we hear more about that? Instead, we’re forced to listen to the guys casually objectifying women, how to ask for a blowjob in German and a lot of praying takes place.
Unless you’re a collector of ‘90s Backstreet Boys videos, or you need inspiration for your Tumblr fashion collection, you’re best avoiding this documentary at all costs, as it’ll only bring you pain. Also, Nick Carter says that America needed ‘cheering up’ after the American Gulf War, which is why the Backstreet Boys did so well. Seriously, guys. No.