Day Six of the Two-Week Torturefest
Oh baby, baby / How was I supposed / To know / That “Crossroads” wasn’t that bad….
Directed by: Tamra Davis
Written by: Shonda Rhimes
Lucy Wagner: Britney Spears
Kit: Zoë Saldana
Mimi: Taryn Manning
Also Starring: Anson Mount, Dan Aykroyd, Justin Long, Kim Cattrall
Distributed by Paramount Pictures on February 15, 2002. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 94 minutes. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA–mature themes, sexual situations, infrequent language, infrequent teen alcohol use.
Crossroads was watched on January 18, 2013.
“I’m not a girl,
Not yet a woman.
All I need is time,
A moment that is mine,
While I’m in between.”
–“I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” by Britney Spears
I guess I can own up to that I don’t exactly hate Britney Spears’s music. I don’t love it either. Okay, fine. In all honesty, I do absolutely love some of her songs. “…Baby One More Time”, “Oops!…I Did It Again”, “Toxic”, “Break the Ice”, and “Womanizer” are all very fun to listen to.
But she’s a singer. Not an actress, a singer. I had very low expectations for 2002’s Crossroads. Rotten Tomatoes reports that a mere 14% of critics “liked it.” The film was nominated for eight Razzie Awards and was “awarded” two–Worst Actress for Britney, and Worst Original Song for her “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”. You get the picture.
The film intends to be a comedy-drama. While it didn’t achieve in the way it intended, it did have a dramatic coming-of-age/soap opera story, with several maliciously funny scenes featuring poor acting, cat fights, and what have you.
Crossroads doesn’t mean any harm. Even if she has no clue how to write one, at least Shonda Rhimes, the writer behind it all, has seen a good movie and can put her finger on it. The film is essentially Thelma & Louise except fitted for an audience of early teenage girls, not quite as witty, burdened by clichés and a predictable story, and–as a result of all this–not nearly as memorable. Oh yeah, there’s three not-girls-not-yet-women (?), as well, not two women.
The story centers around this ring of BFFs. Totally BFFs. When they’re in sixth grade, they bury their “memories” (material objects that will trigger nostalgia at an older age) and design a pact to open it back up at 12:00 AM the day they graduate high school. This is the film’s prologue, and the rest takes place on graduation night. Somehow, they all still remember the pact, and they are, in fact, still friends. (How’d that happen?)
Upon digging up the box, one of the items brings the group into a discussion about one of the girl’s longtime wishes: to go to California (they live in Louisiana) with a boy she doesn’t even know, and pursue a career there. Now let me add some background. The girl who had this aspiration is five months into an unplanned pregnancy, the result of a drunken one-night stand with someone she knew for no more than an hour or two.
You’d think she’d have some common sense, but no, they all hop in the car with a guy who has supposedly committed murder, and make a spontaneous cross-country trip.
Crossroads takes too many risks, most of which try to convince us what really isn’t believable at all. As soon as Britney sets eyes on the guitar player, twenty minutes through, there’s more than a slight notion that they’re going to be a couple by the end. She spends half the movie in his car, giving him longing looks. It’s a huge movie cliché, for those who aren’t familiar, and to say it’s foreshadowed is a gross understatement.
Not to mention, she’s the Valedictorian. How we are supposed to believe this, I’m not sure, but I kept assuring myself with the thought that her high school either a) doesn’t show concern in its students’ transcripts until their GPAs bottom down lower than 1.5; or b) grades based on beauty, not brains (though she did know how to fix a car).
I’ll admit the film can be fun. Half the time, it’s very fun. It isn’t, however, an easy one to recommend. You could just as easily groan yourself to death over the stereotypes it relies on to tell its story.
From Justin to Kelly – two “American Idol” stars–blah.
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