Vittorio Carli’s review of Crossroads

I recently sat through Britney Spear's new movie "Crossroads" at a screening with a room full of film critics. The whole room rolled with laughter almost non-stop. The only problem is the film is supposed to be a drama.

"Crossroads" is a manipulative but amusing coming-of-age film starring pop diva, Britney Spears. It is supposed to be a serious dramatic road picture but it works best as an unintentional comedy.

The film was directed by Tamra Davis. Davis has some talent but she has had a spotty career. Her works include the engaging "Gun Crazy," Best Men," the dope/cult classic, "Half Baked," and the rap parody, "CB4," which only worked in parts.

"Crossroads" was designed as a Britney vehicle to capitalize on her limited gifts. The film gives her the chance to act peppy, sing, lick her lips, pout, giggle, and wear lingerie.

The title "Crossroads" refers to the Britney song in which she sings the lyrics, "I'm not a girl, not yet not a woman," because she is at her developmental crossroads. The line inspired Richard Roeper to remark that Britney was “not a singer, and not yet an actress.” In “Salon,” Stephanie Zacharek wrote that Britney was “…not a girl, not a woman, and definitely not an actress.”

The scene in which she recites the banal song lyrics as if it were Mallarme is one of the most hysterical ones in the film. Compared to Spear’s lyrics, even Jewel's poems are profound.

Lucy is a virginal valedictorian (ha ha) with a strict father (played by Dan Aykroyd who does not resemble her at all). Her mom (played by "Sex in the City's" Kim Cattrall) abandoned her at an early age. Britney is

scheduled to return the favor and join the cast of "Sex in the City" for several episodes,

Lucy is dissatisfied with herself after graduation because she has never taken any chances. She hits the road to find her missing mother.

She is accompanied by her two best friends: Kit and Mimi. They both have their own reasons for going. Kit wants to reunite with her cheating fiancée who is away at school, and Mimi wants to get a recording contract.

Lucy's best friend in the film, Mimi is played by Britney's real best friend, Taryn Manning. She is neither better nor worse than any of the real "actors" in the film.

The three of them get a ride with a recently released felon named Ben (Anson Mount), and they travel across the country in a '73 Buick convertible.

In one scene, the girl's switch the radio to N'Sync's song, "Bye Bye Bye," and Ben is so repulsed by the song that he drives off the road. This is a little in joke for Britney fans since the song was sung by her current boyfriend, Justin Timberlake of N'Sync.

There is one scene which was supposed to be the tragic high point of the film and it involves a miscarriage. But it is so badly done that it had all of us bursting into laughter.

But the most classic bad scene occurs when the three women enter a talent contest, but the scene is so badly orchestrated that it fails to generate any suspense, Lucy is supposed to be the backup singer yet she starts out in the center of the stage while the lead singer is on her left. So it's no surprise when her friends' voice breaks down Lucy takes over.

Britney's debut film is no worst than Prince's post “Purple Rain” flicks or some of Elvis's films. However, they actually possessed musical talent, and their films at least had decent soundtracks.

On the “Crossroads” soundtrack, none of the best songs are by Britney. Only her hip hop influenced version of the Joan Jett classic, "I Love Rock'n Roll" is even mildly interesting. The almost always dense Britney once said that she did the song because she was s huge Pat Benatar fan.

"Crossroads" is not quite in the same league as “Robot Monster,” "Waterworld," or "Plan 9 from Outer Space," but it is still the most entertaining bad film I have seen in a long time.

Rated PG 13 for sexual content and teen drinking, running time: 1:28

star rating *** (as unintentional comedy) , zero (as drama)

 

Starring

Britney Spears Lucy

Zoe Saldana Kit

Anson Mount Ben

Dan Aykroyd Pete

Kim Catrall Caroline

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