• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
Feel the Noise

Will Stern / Sony Pictures

Review in a Hurry:  Like Breakin' and Lambada before it, this music-driven melodrama aims to salute and promote a cultural phenomenon—reggaeton music, in this case—by slathering it all over an instantly forgettable, cliché-laden pop flick. It doesn't help that reggaeton is, like, so 2005.

The Bigger Picture:  It's safe to assume that producer Jennifer Lopez saw Feel the Noise partly as an opportunity to honor her Puerto Rican roots. Following an aspiring New York rapper named Rob (played by real-life R&B idol Omarion) who's sent to live with his estranged dad (Giancarlo Esposito) in Puerto Rico, the film is layered with reverence for that country's culture and recently popular reggaeton sounds.

But there's no getting around the hopelessly uneven performances and storytelling here. While there are plenty of artful exteriors and steamy dance-floor close-ups, J.Lo would have been better off producing a legit documentary—or a new fragrance?—to capture the essence of reggaeton and the rhythm of today's San Juan streets.

As it is, we're stuck watching Rob and his newfound stepbrother, Javi (Victor Rasuk), forge an unlikely musical partnership and follow their dreams of club superstardom all the way back to NYC, where Rob is still in big trouble for trying to steal the rims off some dude's car. There may be some rhyming, but there's nothing truly Shakespearean about the proceedings here.

Some choice soundtrack selections and a supporting turn from real-life Puerto Rican hitmaker Voltio do lend Feel the Noise some sorely needed cultural cred. Then again, if USA Today pegged reggaeton as the next big thing two whole years ago, shouldn't we have felt this noise already?

The 180—a Second Opinion:  Lopez's Nuyorican Productions outfit is definitely making strides in bringing Latino-positive stories to the big screen (even if they aren't any good). She and her beloved El Cantante star Marc Anthony make apt cameos here as marshals in New York's marvelous Puerto Rican Day Parade.