The boy band craze of the 1990's set the music industry and pop culture ablaze. Lou Pearlman was the key architect in fostering this phenomenon into being. He recruited young and hungry vocalists, assembled just the right personalities, and created the most successful musical acts of the day, including NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. He effectively defined the soundtrack of the era. He was also the mastermind behind one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in United States history.
The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story tracks the downfall of an innovator who had reached meteoric heights. It's not an easy task.
A panel of interview subjects, including musicians Lance Bass and Aaron Carter, elucidate the complexity of the man. Many refuse to speak ill of him, and strain in their attempts to explain his obvious duality. Others believe him to be the most egregious crook they ever met.
Operating out of Orlando, FL, Pearlman sifted through the ambitious young talents of the region, many of whom were employed as entertainers in the city's popular theme parks. He had a vision, and enticed teens who were otherwise a million miles away from the global success they would soon enjoy. That vision would pay off to the tune of billions.
Pearlman didn't fit the mold of your typical music mogul. Gregarious, chubby and without pretension, he endeared a sense of trust in all the talents he encountered. He was practically a member of their family. That foundation would begin to shake once the first set of checks came in. Even though they were selling out stadiums and selling millions of records around the world, the band members were barely earning minimum wage. What eventually unraveled was an intricate web of deceit, betrayal and massive financial fraud.
The film traces Pearlman's beginnings as an outsider who didn't fit in, the shady tactics he employed to gain favor with his young clients, and the FBI probe that finally brought him down. It's a fascinating portrait of a conniving criminal mind, and it's set against the dizzying backdrop of global celebrity and all its trappings.
Directed by: Aaron Kunkel