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Those of us discreetly looking forward to a theatrically released film featuring One Direction were perhaps hoping for something more captivating and ingenious than a glorified electronic press kit. We wanted something that didn’t represent the depthless, scandal-mongering, narrow-minded, pleasure-seeking spirit of the times; the efficient result of a few business meetings, and the occasional quasi-creative one, that would then rely on cultural obedience to generate the babbling publicity necessary for it to be certified an authentic cultural event.

Those foolishly fancying a sudden implausible twist in the life of a plastic pop group, insolently brokered on a spiritless talent show, were perhaps hoping that 1D’s hard-working behind-the-scenes masterminds fancied commissioning the genuinely unorthodox — Louis CK channeling Nam June Paik, Tom Ford following “Dogme 95” film-making rules, a tortured “Glee”/”Game of Thrones” hybrid directed by Leos Carax, Trey Parker and Matt Stone animating the group’s story as a sequel to “Team America.” The cultural skill in this case, though, is to generate so much excited attention with such a puny, gutless and horribly competent product — a true sign of the times.

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