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Before we begin to shred this sucker, we'd like to point out that we walked into our screening of Glitter with no preconceptions about Mariah Carey, recording artist. We own one Carey CD (out of a collection of about 1300 disks, it took awhile to confirm that fact) though we haven't spun it since the last time we had a hot date. heh heh heh. So, let us move on to Mariah's big screen debut, Glitter.
IN SHORT: A pathetic piece of film making. [Rated PG-13 for some sensuality, language and brief violence. 105 minutes]
There is good. There is bad. There is worse and terrible and pathetic and painful. Then there is Glitter, a "film" which redefines the question, "Who's in charge here?" Based upon an "idea" by Mariah Carey, Glitter is an idea which was never developed into a full story; never scripted into anything that should have been greenlighted; incompetently directed and filled with visually tortuous gimmicky edits and effects and staffed by actors whose talents are even less refined than the star. Perhaps the idea was to make Ms. Carey, whose acting abilities consist of 1) blink a lot, or don't and 2) tear up but don't cry, look good.
Glitter is so awful that the audience we sat with was laughing at the screen. That doesn't include the audience members that walked out. The film, we should emphasize, is not a comedy. It's a story, emphatically not based on the rise from obscurity of star Carey, but one of a little girl with a beautiful voice who rises from obscurity to become a major star. Sort of like you know who. Young Billie Frank (Isabel Gomes) is dumped in an orphanage when her drunkard, jazz singing mother, Lillian (Valarie Pettiford), can't support or house her anymore. Mom is mulatto. Dad, seen once, wants nothing to do with either of them (and we're guessing that's because Lillian was a piece on the side).
The first five minutes or so of Glitter, which lays out that part of the story, is so painful to sit through -- we mean real pain, not empathetic emotional pain -- that we didn't think it could get any worse. We were wrong. As Billie (as an adult, Carey) makes her slow rise through the ranks as a dancer and background vocalist, we waited and waited, desperate for believable dialog; any kind of dialog in any kind of story would have been nice. Only the occasional glimpse of the now destroyed World Trade Center (this story is set in 1983) got any kind of rise out of our audience. Applause for the victims.
Billie gets her emotional support from childhood friends Louise and Roxanne (Da Brat and Tia Texada) who are left behind when the star is picked out of the background by producer/pimp Timothy Walker (Terrence Howard). Walker, who's trying to make his tone deaf girlfriend, Sylk (Padma Lakshmi) a star sells Billie's contract to hot DJ/would be hot producer Julian "Dice" Black (Max Beesley) for a cool hundred grand. From there on out, it's a hot single (a limp cover of Robert Palmer's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" which allegedly held Number One on the charts for ten weeks) and a producer who can't satisfy the big label -- a minor twist on A Star Is Born, but only by the longest stretches of imagination (and our stretches are much longer than anything you'll see here).
Ladies and Gentlemen, we would also like to point out that we were "in the business" back in the dance-music heydays of the early 1980s. Very little in this film looks anything like what those days were like. A lot of it has to do with the "no drugs allowed" policy of current films. Some of it has to do with the fact that no research seems to have been done about how the biz works, where the money comes from and where it goes. If you missed the one line about "ten weeks at number one" from the script, well, you're flat out of luck if you try and figure out how this woman became a star. Sure, there's an exuberant PR flack (Ann Magnuson) who's great at making appointments and yet has no idea where her client is when the big moment comes -- this would never happen, folks. There's an encounter with a big star, code named "The Artiste" (Eric Benét, we think) though he bears no resemblence to either Prince or Michael Jackson. Finally, TRAGEDY STRIKES. Our audience groaned. Then, A HAPPY ENDING. More groans and a steady stream of people running for the door, knowing this loser was done.
Glitter is such an utter and complete loss that there's nothing left to say.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Glitter, he would have paid . . .
This may be the worst excuse for a film we've sat through (at minimum) all year and (at maximum) in all the time we've been writing.
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