Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Crossroads

Plot: Three adorable, precocious little girls bury a shoebox filled with all their hopes and dreams for the future. Several years later, upon their high school graduation, the girls return to dig up the box, just like they swore.  Only problem is? Well, they all kinda hate each other now. One of them grew up to be Britney Spears, the other grew up to be a trashy trailer park gal with a lisp, a baby in her belly and a heart of gold (Taryn Manning), and the other one is now a bitchy Queen Bee type (Zoe Saldana). So even though they hate each other, they still dig up the box and then pretty much out of the blue, they decide to take a road trip together to California. Seems the trailer park gal wants to take part in some kind of singing competition, the Queen Bee wants to go see her boyfriend and the Brit would just love to see her estranged mom who lives in Arizona. Only problem? They need someone to drive them there. Luckily there’s a generic good-looking guy hanging around town who may or may not have been in jail for murder. After all, what could possibly go wrong for three young ladies traveling cross country with a suspected homicidal maniac? Oh …

Thoughts: Well, luckily for our three leading ladies, “Crossroads” ain’t that kind of movie. Turns out the guy is not a killer and in addition to being extremely, generically handsome, he also has a heart of gold.
                Oh well. You get lucky sometimes.
                So, let’s see. “Crossroads.”

Mixed bag of acting, weak, shallow and cliche story, a total lack of focus, but the adorable Taryn Manning would almost, almost make me OK with watching it again many years from now.

                People throw around the term “star vehicle” to describe movies built for the sole purpose of putting over an actor or actress. Never before has that term been so accurate. Everything in “Crossroads” exists solely to serve Brit.
                Everything in the movie is hers for the taking. Spoiler alert, she gets the generically handsome dude, even though he started out sort of friendly with the trailer park gal. While she’s at it, Brit also takes the trailer park gal’s lifelong dream of becoming a singer and gets to perform at the big singing competition.
                Somehow, through all those trials and tribulations, the trailer park gal never loses her spunk or her positive outlook on life. Even after she has a miscarriage. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yeah, her baby dies. There’s some random heavy stuff in this movie.
                This girl gets so much crap dumped on her throughout the movie (she was raped earlier in her life, too, told you about the heavy stuff) it’s mind boggling that trailer park gal never just absolutely loses her mind.  Especially when she has to sit there and listen to the other two girls complain about their lives.
                Oh boo-hoo Brit, your mom doesn’t love you and Queen Bee, your boyfriend cheated on you.
                Needless to say, it’s kind of hard to care about the other two leading ladies. I did really like the trailer park gal though. Taryn Manning is a cutie and how could you not like such a punching bag of a character?  
                Let’s not forget the fact that there’s really no reason for these three girls to be together. They haven’t been friends for years, in fact, Brit and the Queen Bee are depicted as basically enemies at the start. Yet all that goes away almost for good at the first mention of the word road trip.                     
                In addition to the clunky story, “Crossroads” just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as a movie. It’s meant for younger girls, I guess, due to Brittney being in it, but there’s underage drinking, premarital sex, endless examples of parental authority being ignored. Not a great message to send to kids. Also, Britney dancing around for long stretches of time in her undies sends a weird message too.
                Allow me to get philosophical for a moment. Perhaps, like the soundtrack’s big hit “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” “Crossroads” is stuck in the middle. It’s got too much adult stuff to work for kids and is too mind-numbingly hollow and Britney-centric to be geared towards adults. So it’s stuck somewhere out in the middle, not really doing much of anything for anyone.
                The few times Britney gets to stretch her chops as an actress are kind of a mixed bag. She’s got one good scene with the generic good-looking dude after her mom rejects her, but she’s got plenty of other clunkers that cancel it out.
                The rest of the cast, including Dan Akroyd as Brit’s loving, but overwhelming father, is completely forgettable outside of Manning. Everyone else, feh!

                Worst of the Worst

                Britney and the generic good-looking guy sit around a piano to turn a poem she wrote into a moving, beautiful song. Well, they try anyway. The song’s terrible and they’ve got the exact opposite of chemistry.  The scene is super uncomfortable to watch and man is that one of the most childish and stupid songs ever written? Brit, lose the heavy-handed messages and stick to catchy pop tunes.
                There you go, “Crossroads.” Bumblebee tuna.  

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