Sunday, September 12, 2004

Crossroads (2002)

Author's note: This piece was written when my attitude toward Britney was much more positive. As of now, she has mostly frittered my good will away, but in better days I had somewhat of a crush… Anyway, the format differs from my other reviews in that I kept a running diary as I watched. That is reproduced faithfully below.

Okay, it's Friday night at approximately 9:45 PM and we're live from my modest apartment. I have spent the earlier part of the evening with friends, so I'm not a total loser here.

9:47 - 9:55 Previews. Orange County's contains a "Britney Spears is vapid" joke. Priceless!

9:57 Ad for Britney's latest album, Britney. Already have it.

9:59 All right, 12 minutes later the movie is about to start. The ratings board warning before it promises a PG-13 rating with "Sexual Content and Teen Drinking." Now we're talking! The credits start, listing not only Britney, but Dan Ackroyd and Kool Moe Dee too! I'm already wishing I'd seen this in the theater.

10:01 Britney's real life little sister is playing her as a kid, in a flashback sequence. Britney narrates, telling us exactly what is happening on screen before us. There are three girls who promise to be best friends forever.

10:02 We're into it already! Britney dances to Madonna (Open Your Heart) in her bedroom. She's wearing a camisole and panties! Oh no, she's putting on pants. This scene should have been MUCH longer.

10:05 Okay, so the girls are about to graduate from high school and aren't friends anymore. Points for realism. Now Dan Ackroyd makes his second appearance and Britney has her first chance to act. Verdict: Dan looks like he's been stung by a hive of bees. Britney cries convincingly. She's having a Diane Court-esque crisis.

10:07 Noticing that we haven't heard any Britney music yet.

10:08 Now we're getting somewhere! Yowza! Britney is wearing pink bra and panties and is about to lose her virginity with her lab partner. Less than ten minutes in and this movie is looking like a skin fest.

10:09 Britney isn't going to go through with it. How sad to be this lab partner guy…he gets so close to the sun. Like Icarus.

10:10 - 10:16 Plot stuff. The three friends reunite and decide to go on a road trip.

10:17 We meet the guy Britney is obviously going to sleep with. I already hate him. The movie has to make me like him.

10:19 Still no Britney music, but we do get N*Sync in the car. The guy doesn't like it; he's too cool for it! Plus, he refers to his car as "the cruiser." I'm liking him less and less, if that's possible.

10:24 Britney in the shower!

10:25 Britney wears a lot of pink in this movie. Oh, there goes the after school special alert: One of Britney's friends is pregnant.

10:28 Matthew Sweet just got some residuals off the appearance of Girlfriend, but we're still sans Britney music, dammit. Oh, and the interactions between this guy and Britney are SO lame. I'm going to be tempted to turn the movie off when they sleep together. Oh, and since he seems to not own a razor, I'm going to start calling him Stubbly.

10:30 Britney says "bitch" and "damn." I'm scandalized!

10:33 Kool Moe Dee appears!

10:34 The pregnant girl wants to be a singer, so they're going to do karaoke. But wait, she's choking! Who is she, the girl in The Devil and Max Devlin? Does Eliot Gould have to be there for her to sing well? And the audience is booing! Who boos bad karaoke? Isn't that the point? This appears to be the same road house audience the Blues Brothers played for.

10:35 Britney takes over the mic! She's looking foxy, and there's a stripper's pole right next to her! The look on Stubbly's face is unintentional comedy all the way to the bank!

10:40 An overzealous suitor gets fresh with Britney and Stubbly punches him out. It would have been a stroke of genius to have this guy played by Justin Timberlake. You hate a wasted opportunity like that.

10:41 - 10:46 As promised, teen drinking. But wait a minute, isn't one of them pregnant? And oh, now they seem to have gotten sober really quickly. They're sharing.

10:47 Stubbly takes his shirt off to reaveal tats on his back. Oh he's so dreamy (insert sarcastic tone). Blech!

10:50 Some classic over-acting from Stubbly. Who is he, Charlie Chaplin? You get the feeling that this is his big scene in the movie….and it sucks! My goodness what a whiny guy: "My car…it's the only thing that hasn't been taken over by chicks." Look dude, some of us enjoy the company of women.

10:52 Not only does Stubbly manage to maintain a permanent 5 o'clock shadow (he must have a beard trimmer set to "mildly rugged") but he insists on wearing a stocking cap, in Texas, in the middle of June. Is this really necessary? Okay, so now he's going to tell us why he really went to jail…

10:53 That was so lame!!! Is it just me or is Stubbly RUINING THE MOVIE?!?

10:54 - 10:58 They camp out at the place where Britney filmed the Not a Girl, Not Yet A Woman video.

10:59 Kim Catrall makes the briefest of appearances. There is a David Lynch-ian moment where the phone rings and both Kim and Britney react as though the sound is foreign to them.

11:01 Britney, wet from the rain and emotionally distraught seeks comfort in his Stubbly's arms. They kiss. Ugh! Get a clue Britney! This is too close to reality for me.

11:04 Stubbly sits in an atrium type area at a white piano. Is he John Lennon? Stop right now! See, he's putting music to the poem Britney wrote…it's called Not A Girl, Not Yet a Woman. I bet Max Martin and Dido sat at a piano just like this when they wrote it.

11:08 Capitol Records building makes an appearance.

11:09 They're at the beach. Britney is looking especially cute in a bikini and a little hat. She gets diarrhea of the mouth, and Stubbly is utterly uninterested in what she has to say.

11:10 There's an odd cameo from a man who appears to be former MTV veejay Jesse Camp. It's very disorienting. Sidebar: I actually saw Jesse Camp here at a record store, just walking around. My friend Richard was also there and claimed it wasn't him, but really, how many supper skinny guys trying to look like the offspring of Keith Richards and Steven Tyler are there?

11:11 I just realized I don't know any of the character's names. Oh no, and here's the scene I've been dreading. Stubbly and Britney are going to get it on…and we're not going to see a single moment of it! I'm strangely conflicted about this.

11:15 Plot convenience alert! I won't even go into it. It's not worth it. Suffice to say that even M. Night Shamalyn wouldn't have this happen in one of his movies. Shameful! I find it interesting that while Britney is throwing away her virginity, her two friends go through huge traumas! Is Britney causing this? Is this some sort of twisted take on morality?

11:18 Dan Ackroyd appears again and gives a speech almost as lame as Stubbly's "chicks / car" speech. Dan has a southern accent that appears for only one word of this whole diatribe. He is REALLY mailing it in. They should give a special award at the Oscars for mailing it in. Or at least a Golden Globe.

11:20 Britney claims that all Stubbly did was "give us a ride." Well, at least he gave her one. Ohhh, too easy.

11:25 Britney performs Not A Girl… Wow, this really came together quickly and without any practice. We're dealing with prodigies here. All of that practice that Britney has lip-synching really came in handy for this scene. But, Britney looks good, so who really cares about all of that? Oh, I think I just inadvertently discovered the filmmakers' philosophy for this movie.

11:29 The three girls reaffirm their promise to be friends forever. I want to see a sequel where Britney has become tired of Stubbly's irresponsibility and has grown away from her friends again.

11:30 Britney performs Overprotected as the credits roll. Fine way to end things. Oh wait, yes, we've got the Purple Rain frozen frame for the end. Kudos to the filmmakers for that.

11:32 Tape rewinding. I don't feel like I've wasted my time, but it could have been spent slightly better. This was a bad movie, but Britney was in her underwear. Stubbly was the worst boyfriend in a pop star movie this side of Glitter, but that underwear was pink. Okay I'm too conflicted about this movie. Best to just end it here.

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