During the 90s Boy band craze, I used to work a block away from Times Square in New York City. And everyday, I used to see thousands of girls lined up outside the MTV Studios waiting for these guys to show up for the afternoon show Total Request Live (TRL) and I remember it would be such a pain to get to the subways because of all the throngs of people blocking the street. But don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of both NSync and Backtreet Boys. I listened to their albums, and collected their CDs. I knew enough about the bands to know they were both formed by Lou Perlman, but aside from that knew nothing about him. and here we are, almost twenty five-ish or so later, and Perlman has now passed (in jail) and the boy band members? Some of them have been interviewed for ‘The Boy Band Con,’ a documentary produced by Lance Bass, one of the member of one of those bands, NSync.
The documentary is part ‘Behind The Music,’ and part dissection of Perlman and how he achieved what he did, both in positive and negative terms. Aaron Kunkler, the director, presents the facts in a mostly straightforward manner. It tries to dig deep on how Perlman was able to embezzle money by interviewing some of his investors. At the same time, interviews with boy band members shed light on the bands’ rise and fall. While the documentary is insightful, it lacks focus. I admit to being more interested in the ‘boy band’ part, but the finance part should have appealed to me just as well. It seems drier here, and felt not as sexy as, say, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi schemes when basically they did the exact same thing. Part of Perlman’s ‘sins’ is his alleged sexual predatory of soem of the young men in the bands. Aaron Carter vehemently denies that here (his aggressive apologist stand seems alarming) but besides that is only briefly mentioned here. Even if the information in the documentary is varied, it felt to me like that there’s not much new.