So, Twihards, the new documentary Robsessed is out today on DVD, and we’ve had an early look at the 70-minute film (see clips after the jump). It was hard to tell from the pre-release info whether it would be a Teen Beat-esque detail of his favorite pizza toppings and best hair days, or a serious documentary about how and why he’s so famous and how he copes with the intense interest in his life. And we can now reveal that Irene Antoniades’ film is kind of both…and kind of neither.
Yes, the uber fans will be particularly drawn to the early modeling shots of him in boxer shorts and black socks. But despite the documentary being touted as “all access,” there seems to be very little other exclusive footage, photos, or interviews with people who actually know him well. Most of the talking heads are British magazine editors who may have met him briefly if at all. It was nice to hear from his old theater group leader from the London suburbs – and it would have been even cooler to see footage of him in those early community productions of Macbeth and Guys and Dolls.
But, alas, there are no interviews with school friends or neighbors (an “interview” with a woman who once saw him in a pub should have been left on the editing-room floor), not even an old school portrait, and no family members coming out of the woodwork (Lindsay Lohan should be so lucky). On the other hand, I now know that RPattz once won an award for messiest desk at school and I’m sure that will enhance my life somehow.
There are some “expert” opinions about what kind of fame he has achieved, as well as talks with “superfans.” For the experts, notably absent are interviews with the likes of Stephenie Meyer (who is – d’oh – referred to as “Meyers” a few times), or Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, or even the casting director who got Pattinson his big break in Harry Potter. And it goes without saying Kristen Stewart isn’t interviewed about their “friendship.” At least some of the paparazzi following him had some insight into how he treats fans, and a few indie directors say he was nice to work with pre-Twilight.
Thankfully, the revered British film critic Kim Newman makes some intelligent points about Pattinson’s career and the Twilight phenomenon. He notes, for instance, that it is more Edward Cullen than Robert Pattinson that has caused the obsession. Newman says: “It’s weird, the absolute identification of the actor with the role, to the point that fans almost find the actor an inconvenience.” He also tells a funny story about having 13-year-old girls placed in a preview screening to balance “the cynical old critics.”
Other burning topics addressed in the film include why moms crush on Pattinson, his musical ambitions, how he landed the role in Twilight, and how his older sisters allegedly used to dress him up in girl’s clothes and call him Claudia (sadly, no photographic evidence to accompany that).
The voiceover can be a bit cringe-y – “Rob is a true British gent with effortless style and finger-lickingly good hair. Where did it all go right?” Note to filmmakers: chicken is finger-licking, hair is not. And, wait, that’s not all about the hair. There is a lengthy discussion of RPattz’s signature locks. I found it highly watchable, at least for a laugh or for styling tips to achieve that certain look).
That coif isn’t as unwashed as we might believe – and one magazine editor has proof of Pattinson’s hygiene! A reporter for British Glamour was ordered to smell him up close to make sure he showers – “He was very fragrant…very fresh,” Glamour assistant editor James Williams says. “Almost as fresh as a daisy, but a bit more masculine.”
The hardened journalist in me just died a bit typing that last quote, but the part of me who is a cougarish RPattz admirer has to confess that overall, the documentary was mostly watchable despite the cheese factor.
If you are firmly in Team Edward are you planning on buying the Robsessed DVD or just drooling over him in New Moon next week?
If you want to debate all this in person, Robsesssed will be playing Saturday during the New York-based Paley Center for Media’s Vampire Weekend – and EW’s own Ken Tucker will be moderating a panel about TV vampires.
For now, here are some clips from Robsessed: