Maroon 5 LEAD

If you are under the impression that 1) Maroon 5 is still a group effort and not just an Adam Levine vehicle; and 2) people aren’t spending big Hollywood bucks on music videos in this economy; then the new video for “Payphone” is going to be a disastrous wake up call for you. Sorry.

The new video is basically a short action film starring Levine, who plays a Stallone or Willis-esque badass by stealing cars and guns and causing massive (and most likely incredibly expensive) explosions in the desert. The plot may be simple enough: Levine is a bank teller whose business gets overrun by would-be robbers (the band, covered in masks so as not to steal the spotlight), so he steals one of the looter’s guns, grabs the hot brunette who shakes her studious vibe by letting her hair down, and hightails it out of there, stealing Wiz Khalifa’s car along the way (Wiz, of course, is on the trail.) The following police chase, choppers and all, look summer blockbuster-good, and it all ends up with a bloody, tattooed Levine calling someone from, you guessed it, a payphone.

What’s weird is that you get the feeling there is some other underlying theme happening here, but it doesn’t really pan out that clearly. Wiz Khalifa looks like a baller as he leaves his sexy convertible at the valet before Levine goes grand theft auto on it, but then later in the video Khalifa is a homeless guy warming his hands by a trashcan fire. WTF? Feels a little like the 1983 Eddie Murphy flick Trading Places, but I wouldn’t go that classy on this one. What do you think?

Also check out a behind-the-scenes clip of the making of the video here.