Spread it or ignore it?
JoJo Siwa has been a rainbow and rhinestone phenomenon ever since he made waves on Dance Moms years ago and taking the world by storm with his musical singles and larger than life dance moves. The sparkling, smiling blonde has sold dazzling stages and arcs around the world, and now she’s here to charm you in her new movie, The J team, streaming on Paramount +.
TEAM J: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The essential: JoJo (JoJo Siwa) has never been afraid to stand out. She lives her life in a technicolor bedroom, pulls bows in sparkly hair and sequined jackets, and has fun with the mailman as she walks to a dance rehearsal. Things look perfect – she loves her dance teacher, Val (Laura Soltis), and has her two best friends, “The Rubies” (Kiara T. Romero and Kerrynton Jones) by her side. But when Val announces that she is retiring after 30 years as a dance coach and dapper Poppy (Tisha Campbell) replaces her.
Things are off to a less than ideal start, and Poppy makes it clear that she won’t put up with any of the glitter, rainbows, or bows that make JoJo, well, JoJo. JoJo does her best to blend in, but despite her best efforts, she just can’t stop her glow. Dropped by this depressing dance troupe, JoJo decides to create her own team – The J Team – and recruits eclectic athletes to join her. She can be knocked down, but if there’s one thing JoJo can do, it’s get up.
What movies will this remind you of? : The J team Looks a lot like the original Disney Channel and Nickelodeon movies about being proud to stand out that we’ve seen over the years, like Musical High School and Camp rock.
Performances to see: I really have to hand this one over to JoJo’s dog, BoBo, who rocks all the ridiculous accessories he has to wear, from bows and jackets to any sparkly or colorful dog outfit you can imagine. You are a soldier, BoBo. We love you.
Memorable dialogue: Dialogue in The J team is pretty cheesy, but I was admittedly tickled by Tisha Campbell’s delivery of “no now, Mom, I change lives! by answering the phone.
Gender and skin: Nothing.
Our opinion :The J Team, with all its relentless seriousness and sincerity, resembles the DCOMS of yesteryear and all the other tween content we’ve grown tired of over the past decades. Despite that, however, he still manages to charm, and that’s in no small part thanks to his bubbly star, international sensation JoJo Siwa. Bonus, The J team totally overshadows JoJo’s former dance trainer, the nuts, and berates Abby Lee Miller for Dance Moms. While the abuse in this movie doesn’t come close to what we know Miller is capable of, the benchmark still seems pretty obvious – and deserved. It’s fun to see Siwa’s unstoppable sunbeam colliding with all the storm clouds she encounters.
The J team is definitely not for everyone, but for its target audience – JoJo fans, families, etc. – it is meant to delight. It’s a sweet, loud movie that carries her heart loud and clear, from the moment JoJo wakes up in her rainbow bedroom and starts dancing in the street with everyone she meets. It’s hard to criticize a movie with such good intentions, especially when the kids watching it are likely to be singing these songs for weeks to come.
Our call: Stream it. The J team is a healthy and endearing showcase for its sparkling star, meant to appeal to fans and families alike.
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines, hogging the mic in karaoke, and tweeting thirst. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.
Flux The J team on Paramount +