“I, Jerrica Benson, am living the most unexceptional life. … At some point we all wish we could become someone else.” Relatable stuff from the voice-over in the first trailer for Universal’s Jem And The Holograms. Aubrey Peeples, who plays Layla on Nashville, stars as a kid who writes songs that no one outside of her family hears — until sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) uploads a video that explodes on YouTube. Suddenly she and her three sisters are signed by “the biggest record company in the world” — and the hard life lessons begin.
Smarmy company honcho Erica (Juliette Lewis) first changes Jerrica’s name and then the way “Jem” and the group act, sound and look. There’s the inevitable “We’re on the radio!” scene, the screaming fans, quasi-regret, family/band tensions, tears, redemption, etc. “The version of me they want doesn’t exist,” Jem laments. But, as her Aunt Bailey (Molly Ringwold) says, “This is about you not going your whole life wondering what would have happened if you didn’t take that chance.”
Jon M. Chu directs the film from a script by Ryan Landels. Aurora Perrineau, Hayley Kiyoko and Ryan Guzman co-star in the pic based on Hasbro’s cult 1980s cartoon series (not to be confused with Josie And The Pussycats, the early-’70s Hanna-Barbera toon about an all-female pop group). Jason Blum, Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun, Bennett Schneir, Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis produced. Universal is set to release Jem on October 23.