Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: From Justin to Kelly


Credentials: 8%, Certified Rotten (Rottentomatoes.com) / 1.7 out of 10, #16 on the Bottom 100 List (Imdb.com) / 14 out of 100 (Metacritic.com) / Nominated for 9 Razzies at the 2004 Golden Raspberry Awards, won Governor’s Award for Distinguished Under-achievement in Choreography / Named Worst Musical of Our First 25 Years by The Golden Raspberry Foundation

Plot: Deep in the heart of Texas, a gal named Kelly (Kelly Clarkson) and her two clearly stereotyped best friends (an evil blonde and a token black girl) decide to head to Miami for a little Spring Break action. Meanwhile, deep in the heart of Pennsylvania a shaggy-headed muppet creature named Justin (Justin Guarini) and his two badly stereotyped friends (a muscle-bound playa’ and an inexplicably dorky third wheel) decide to do the same. Naturally, these two demographic-seeking missiles (read: groups of “friends”) meet on the Miami beaches and erupt in a fiery explosion of ungodly dance and song the likes of which has never been seen before.

Why it stinks: “From Justin to Kelly” is a vastly important patch in the giant, moth-eaten, gamey-looking quilt of American pop culture. For one thing, it’s the high water mark of Justin Guarini’s short-lived career.  It’s also the unquestioned rock bottom of Kelly Clarkson’s. The movie was also “American Idol’s” XFL--- the moment where it realized its power was indeed finite.
                History lesson aside, “From Justin to Kelly” really is just a putrid, vile nightmare of a movie. Even with THE one and only American Idol, my lady, Kelly Clarkson in it, there is STILL no reason--- short of medical experimentation or endurance testing--- for a human being to ever subject themselves to the horror show that is this movie.

                Now look, when it comes to the magical world of dance, I’m no George Balanchine or Paul Taylor.  Hell, I’m not even a J-Lo, but I know bad, limp, lifeless dancing when I see it and boy do I see it here.
The dance numbers in “From Justin to Kelly” are so poorly choreographed, that they actually occasionally cover up how poorly written all of the songs are. You’re almost too busy gasping at the stilted, spastic movements to notice the clunky, trying-desperately-hard-to-be-hip lyrics. I said almost. Some lyrics, well, there’s just no helping.
For example, here’s a bit of poetry from the tune “The Luv (The Bounce).” Hit it: “All the girls can be shakin' in the bounce tonight, gonna do it like we do when the bounce is right …” What the hell does that mean!??! Those lines couldn’t be more poseur-rific or nonsensical if Carson Daly had typed them with his feet.
 The musical numbers may be train wrecks set to dumb pop songs, but the acting is almost as bad.
There is not a single, breathing actor anywhere to be found in this movie. Love her as I do, Kelly Clarkson is NOT an actress. Somehow, someway Clarkson is NOT able to pull off playing an aspiring singer from Texas named Kelly. She’s essentially playing herself and I still don’t believe a word of it.
Same goes for Guarini, who’s a goofy-looking guy from Pennsylvania in both reality and in the movie.
As I already mentioned, the friends are all horrible clich├ęs and stereotypes. “From Justin to Kelly” is one of those movies that takes people from radically different social circles who would never give each other the time of day in real life and makes them friends for some reason. Why the hell is the dork hanging with the muscle-bound playa’?
The flimsy bit of screenwriting that links the musical numbers is rife with plot holes and inconsistencies. Essentially, it’s just: kids go somewhere to have fun, music starts, or sometimes it goes: random misunderstanding followed by music.
There’s no logic in anything that happens. The whole plot is basically just a poorly executed stall-tactic before we get to a somewhat predictable finale. The only part that wasn’t predictable? A certain viciously evil character (OK, it’s the blonde) is completely forgiven for acting like an absolute ass hat for the duration of the movie. No one holds it against her.

Worst of the worst

You could take any one of the musical performances, but I’m going to go with the blonde’s big number. It’s really a mess of hyper-sexualized malarkey.

So there you have it, “From Justin to Kelly.” Bumblebee tuna.

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