Another feature of...
A Jabootu Guest Review
As I write this, the fourth season of American Idol is humming
along like a runaway locomotive packed with stupid loud people. I
understand this season’s ratings scam was Paula Abdul—former Raider Girl
butt-shaker and helium-voiced diva dorkette—making it with one of the
contestants. The shtick, for our international visitors, is that three
judges listen to amateur singers belt out schlock over mystery strings
or artificial R&B bilge. Abdul is the nice judge, Simon is the mean
judge, and the other judge is…well…not that nice or mean.
Naturally, the show is a smash. In the first season, the winner was
some moppet named Kelly Clarkson and the runner-up was Justin Guarini.
The people who released this picture must have known it was a piece of
garbage. But American Idol was a smash that year, and Justin and
Kelly were so darn wholesome, sellable, and perky that a quickie movie
was inevitable lest a chance to strike while the pan was flashing would
be lost forever—or until Donald Trump slithers forth with Apprentice
"It was nightmare itself, and to look at it was to die. But it made men dream…"–H.P. Lovecraft
Finally, this was the most fun I’ve ever had at what I call a
‘Jabootu’ screening. I was neither appalled nor bored. Well, not that
bored, anyway. My usual scheme for doing a review is to have an
‘official’ screening wherein I invite friends and family and watch a bad
movie without even attempting to write notes, except maybe to jot down a
funny comment someone makes. Just letting the badness wash over me, as
it were. This stinker was watched at my place with my sister Maddy and
friend Cissy. (Someday we’ll assemble the entire "Cute Life" quartet for
one of these—stayed tuned.) We had a great time and much laughter and
parody singing was shared at the expense of these warbling American
Idol dorks. Later—and alone—I dug in with a scene-by-scene
dissection, sometimes watching a particular scene two or three times.
Oh, what else to say here. Well, this is my first small ‘nugget-sized’ review here at Jabootu. This is primarily because this movie, unlike some of the Leviathan exercises in cosmic badness that lurk on this site, such as The Trial of Billy Jack and Sextette, basically had no substance at all. Sure it’s bad, in a tacky-billboard-on-the-interstate kind of way, but not in any particularly unexpected or multi-faceted way. Likewise, there’s only so many (arguably) funny ways for a reviewer to repeat the mantra: "Song sucks, choreography crap, acting awful" over and over again. Also, the thing isn’t even an hour-and-a-half long*. And, I must admit, I only watched it twice. For that, I apologize. A reviewer should, no matter how appalling the movie, give the director and actors a fair chance to strut their stuff and the readers of the review a complete picture of the director’s vision and…
Actually, you know what? I'm not sorry.
We open inside an empty roadhouse. Well, not empty as Kelly Clarkson is crooning some soulful drivel number with a band backing her. I thought this was supposed to be a rehearsal of some sort, but when she finishes up with a flourish, she acts disappointed that the only guy clapping is some loaded country boy hootin’ it up real good. So I’m supposed to buy that they pay a band and a singer to perform to a bar that’s completely empty? This Texas bar looks a little suspicious also: bright, airy, nice accoutrements, friendly-looking staff cleaning up, and no cigarette smoke. Hmm.
Mercifully, they don’t play the whole number. Once the caterwauling ends, Mr. Drunken Cowboy Stereotype (just add Stetson!) comes on to Kelly professing his love but Kelly Let’s-Just-Be-Friends him, explaining that she doesn’t feel the same way about him. He aw-shucks back a painful, "Not yet, but I’m like a hurricane! I’m gonna blow you over!" before hitching his thumbs in his Wranglers and grinning a simpleton Jack-O-Lantern leer.
In walk two of Kelly’s friends, Alexis and Kaya. Kaya’s fairly nondescript, but blonde Alexis is decked out and made up like she has an "Everything Must Go!" outlet mall Gap sale in her past and a brass pole in her future. ‘Conversation’ among the droids follows. Ack, that’s an atrocious ‘Texas’ accent affected by Alexis. She makes ‘beach’ two-syllables—"Were goin’ to da bah-each!" It makes you want to stick screwdrivers through your eardrums. And this from a Mountain State girl who is sometimes mocked for her own accent. It’s that bad. Anyway, they convince Kelly to join them for a roadtrip to Miami.
Queue the opening credit sequence. This is a low-rent Miami Vice knock-off, starting with shots of Miami cityscapes blending into beach scenes of revelers on the strands culminating in aerial shots of Kelly and Co. in some ancient 4x4 P.O.S. driving over bridges out to the shore. But instead of Jan Hammer’s golden oldie "Theme from Miami Vice" we get an absolutely hideous cover of the Go-Gos’ "Vacation"—counted among my most beloved childhood anthems. They’ve managed to deflate one of the happiest songs and turn it into something that makes a Weather Channel Local Forecast version of "The Little Drummer Boy" sound like Handel’s Messiah.I never, ever want to hear this cover again. Never. Ever.
Throughout the opening shots the credits are creatively shown—a girl laying out rolls over and the casting director’s name is on her towel, a van pulls by with the producer’s name on it, etc. Surprisingly, Director Robert Iscove’s name doesn’t appear on a garbage truck but rather on a banner towed by an airplane. Coming into this, his only other claim to celluloid shame that you might have heard of were two Freddy Prinz Jr. movies, She’s All That and Boys & Girls. What, you mean you never watched them?
After the vapid opening credits sequence dies with a whimper, we get
to meet the guys. Stalking through the curiously lifeless beach-going
throng are Justin and his friends, Nerdguy and Player. I think Player’s
name is Brandon and Nerdguy’s name is Eddie, but Nerdguy and Player
were, I’m sure, the names used on the storyboard. (Justin, I suppose, is
the ‘Nice Guy.’) Player is established by Nerdguy saying something about
all the hearts Player broke during last year’s spring break. Nerdguy’s
reputation, in return, is established by Player saying something about
hoping that Nerdguy doesn’t spend this spring break with his
Then, nearly as soon as it’s begun, the song is over. Why???
Next scene. The Pennsylvania Posse is checking into their hotel room. The manager is shown opening the door for them and issuing old-fogey proclamations such as "No girls!" and "No noise!" and such. As sterile as this movie is, maybe this manager moonlights as a MPAA movie reviewer or a Disney exec. While unpacking, Nerdguy wonders if this room has high speed internet access and Player continues to exhort the imminent string of parties and one-night stands in their futures. Alright already, we get it! One’s a geek and the other’s a horndog and they’re meant to contrast Justin’s Nice-but-not-too-nice-guy persona. Let’s move on.
We switch over to the girlies who are also settling in and getting ready to go out. Alexis is decked out in a tacky bathing suit and Dollar General bling. Kaya says Kelly really needs to loosen up and not clinch. Kelly pouts defensively, "I don’t clinch! I don’t!" The other two look at her dubiously. You don’t act very well either, dearheart.
Back to the Pennsylvania Polka. Justin is securing his Nice Guy credentials by woodenly mooning on Kelly with some starry-eyed blather about how she was really cute and do you think she was interested in me and so on. What? He sounds like he wants to propose to her or something already. Player will have none of it, delivering a stale soliloquy about how their code is to love-em-and-leave-em and for Justin to not get hung up on one girl or he’ll end up with no game like Nerdguy. Price Charmless. Nerdguy, for his part, is complaining about the old telephone in the room and how he’ll never be able to access the web because of it. He makes Urkel from Full House seem like some brooding, nuanced Josef Conrad character.
Then, back once again to the girls. Still more blather. This beach movie is treading water.
Finally, we find ourselves in the midst of some kind of impromptu-yet-ersatz beach party. Finally a song starts; a totally grooveless duet begins to percolate through the crowd as Justin and Kelly wander through looking for one another. At first, neither are even lip-syncing the song, but soon they begin crooning away in the overblown manner of lounge singers trying to be Neil Diamond. I think this particular overcooked R&B snoozer is called "Forever Part of Me". I think the same computer program that spits out Chinese restaurant names (Happy Palace, Golden Dragon, Happy Dragon, Golden Palace) picked that song title from the same pool of words used to construct romance novel titles.
Apparently, Player is organizing a whipped-crème bikini contest. He
and Justin split up and are seen handing out bracelets that will act as
entry tickets. These are inexplicitly popular. Justin runs into Alexis.
She slithers up to him like a lot lizard and purrs something about
wanting a ticket. Justin greets this tarty come-on with his one
expression—empty bewilderment. Reaching around him, Alexis goes for his
back pocket and grabs all the bracelets, yelling that she’s got the
entry bracelets that nobody was asking Justin about she shown up. The
extras suddenly mob her—perhaps thinking that the bracelets are tickets
off the set or something. She gets knocked face-first into the sand.
We see Kaya standing alone, fretting over some drink she spilled on her mini—apparently during the bracelet scrum. A Hot Latin waiter comes over and helps her clean up. The Plot-O-Matic 3000™ clanks out some gushing dialogue as she moons on him. They make plans. Wonderful—yet another irritating thread to wrap up.
Justin runs into Alexis again. This is a weird set as it appears that Alexis is sitting on some kind of poster bed outside next to the crowded sidewalk. Well, I guess she is a tall blonde, after all. And her rings…I wonder how many dimes went into the machine to get them. Justin asks her for Kelly’s number. Tramp is surprised. Justin says he’s not into "party girls." She gives him a number she says belongs to Kelly but which is instead really her own.
Later, as the trio of fembots is strolling over the beach, Alexis’ cell phone rings. It’s Justin, of course. He text-messages her: "I OU A BUGR. U GAME?" Ugh. Alexis, pretending to be Kelly, sends back "SRRY NOT INTRSTED."
Night falls with a thud. Kaya and Carlos—the Hispanic Waiter—are in
club clothes and walking down an alley. You know, I don’t care who pairs
off with who, but having Carlos and African-American Kaya match up
smells a little corporate boardroom to me. The Niceguy gets the Nicegirl,
the Player/Bimbo get anybody they want, the minorities get one another,
and the Nerdguy gets the Nerdgirl. It’s good that everybody is
categorized and neatly packaged like the portions of an in-flight meal
in coach. Everybody know their place? Good. We can move on.
Why? So we can fast forward to next morning for more mind-numbing dialogue! The girls are sitting at a cabana conducting a post-mortem on Kaya’s night. You know, there might be more to tell if the movie hadn’t cut it off. Alexis gets another text message from Justin: "I WNT TKE NO 4 AN ANSWR!" She ignores it. Know what? THS FLCK STNKS.
[Editor Ken: U CAN SAY THT AGN]
After they listen to the (abbreviated) version of Kaya’s hot night, Kelly sighs and pouts that she’s in a rut. Can’t imagine why. Alexis perks up and drawls that she’s entered Kelly in the whipped-cream bikini contest. Later, at the event—a G-rated whipped cream bikini contest that looks like it’s being held by the Knights of Columbus—she portrays outrage, reiterating the palaver earlier about the humiliation and degradation of women and that she’s shocked—shocked—that a nice guy like Justin is helping to promote such a thing and so on. She splats a little Kool-Whip in Justin’s face before stalking off. After linking up with Alexis and Kaya, she expresses surprise and dismay that Justin would do this and that he seemed so nice in the ladies restroom before and so on and so forth. Alexis falsely commiserates with her, telling her to stop thinking about him.
You know, this movie has six major characters—four too many—each with their own tiresome plot thread weaving a shroud of boredom to wrap the corpse of my attention. Exhibit A: Next we have Nerdguy miss his first connection with Nerdgirl. He’s waiting for her when a couple of hunky guys ask him to play volleyball with them for no good reason other than IITS. After he’s in action—zany pratfalls and all—Nerdgirl appears, can’t find him, and walks off. This is gold, Jerry! Gold!
Kelly at a burger stand. Justin walks up and tries to apologize for the horrible and traumatic whipped-cream bikini contest to which she was invited. (Hey Justin, where’s my apology for watching this? I think a lot of people deserve apologies for expecting dancing and singing and instead getting fourth-rate derivative tripe.) Kelly gets angry and tells the take-out stand attendant she wants her burger to go. Then she attempts to blow Justin off, sputtering stuff like, "You’re a player!" and "I can’t believe you!" before accidentally spilling hot sauce on him. He finally convinces her to take a boat ride with him later.
Insipid interlude: it’s Player’s turn to bore us. He’s counting his money when the babe cop* appears again and cites him for not having a permit for the bikini contest. Oh whatEVER! Get on with it already!
[*Editor Ken: Babe Cop is a recurring ‘character’ who pops up out of nowhere about every ten minutes to issue Player a citation of one sort or other. Because, you see, it’s ‘funny.’]
Alright, the boat ride. Justin has access to a small motorboat and takes Kelly out in it. First they exchange in a little not-so-Immortal Dialogue:
As they cruise around the canals of Miami, a duet breaks out between them. The song is another dose of flatline soul compost and sounds like something you might hear in the grocery store while you decide what dog food to buy. I think the song in called "Timeless" which is exactly what it isn’t. It doesn’t get any more neutral-sounding than this—the aural equivalent of an unbroken wall of slate-gray clouds over the slate-gray Atlantic on a calm day. Like all songs in this ‘musical’ however, it only plays a couple of minutes. Why?
Because the Plot-O-Matic has some more parallel plot thread futility to clank out, that’s why! This time it’s Kaya, who is back in the kitchen of Carlo’s restaurant chatting with her new beau. She wants to go out again. Carlos has to work. She is unhappy and when Carlo’s boss happens to walk by, she gets seriously into his face because she thinks Carlos is being overworked. He, being an Evil Capitalist who wants his employees to show up during the busiest time of the year, fires Carlos on the spot and stalks off. (Credit Where It’s Due™: Carlos is distraught over the job loss. Before turning to run after his boss, he actually manages instill a little realism into these NutraSweet proceedings by delivering a quick dressing down on Kaya for being just a spring break ‘party girl’ who doesn’t understand that Carlos is [apparently] a recent immigrant who lives from paycheck to paycheck and whose job—one that most Americans would distain [me included]—is precious to him. I’ve always wondered how the generally-not-too-affluent-staff at these vacation resorts don’t get resentful around drunk and obnoxious kids from suburbia. But I digress…) He asks Kaya to stay away from him before going to beg for his job back.
Meanwhile, Justin and Kelly are disembarking back at the marina. Kelly seems to have been won over and, after exchanging calculating looks and a romantic handshake, they make plans to meet again later on that evening at the beach. You know, if the Soviets made teen beach movies*, they would have looked like this. From Josef to Khruchev maybe.
[*Film Buff Ken: But they did! Or at least the East Germans did. Check out Hot Summer, it’s on DVD on it’s awesome. Also, dig up a copy of East Side Story, an incredibly bizarre documentary on Soviet and East German musicals. Seriously, you’ll be glad you did.]
Cut to a beach bar wherein a banner proclaims that a "Margarita Madness" party is underway. I’m underwhelmed. I once went to equally ‘racy’ Margarita Madness-themed party. During the 8th grade. Put on by the nuns in the gym of St. John the Evangelist in Baltimore. It was fun.
Anyhow, Player is calling out to people like a midway barker, announcing a ten dollar cover to get in and take part in the wake-like ritual. The extras are lined up waiting to get in, looking every bit as excited as government employees coerced into giving blood. Alexis cuts in front of the line by giving Player a kiss and zips in, turning to laugh at the people waiting. In doing so, she isn’t watching where she’s going and runs into a server carrying a tray of glasses, getting some sticky red foofy drink poured over her. Mighty funny stuff. <Pip looks at watch>
Over to Nerdguy who’s hitting the beach to get a tan in order to impress his IM heartthrob. Despite Player’s warning, he lays out like a big helping of pale Yankee pot roast. Cutting forward to the next Nerdguy scene, we see he’s burned himself silly. He’s as red as a ripe tomato yet doesn’t realize it and walks down the beach while people gasp at his crimson hue. Take it from someone who knows how fair complexions and the sun (don’t) mix: if you burned yourself this bad, you’d be sporting a fever and it’d be ER time stat.
A brief interlude: the three girls are laying out. Kelly gushes how happy she is that she and Justin are getting together that evening. Alexis acts all surprised that Kelly would fall for such a transparent ploy by such an obvious player as Justin. Kelly asserts that Justin is different. Alexis is doubtful. Kaya and Kelly get on her for being a ‘party girl’ and not understanding that Kelly wants a nice guy. Tartgirl is unhappy at being labeled a ‘party girl’—despite being a total blonde flooze—and after a bit of pouting decides to text message Justin pretending to be Kelly. She tells him to show up at a bar instead of the beach.
With this bit of boneheaded opéra bouffe behind us, it is time to build up the next dance scene. Alexis is vamping it up—such as the movie allows—at what looks like some new wave hipster bar, part Logan’s Run, part the Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange. This erupts into a fairly somnolent number stolen right from Madonna’s "Material Girl" video. OK, since Kelly or Justin aren’t in the scene, I admit Alexis and the other people are fairly acceptable dancers. The song is terrible however, repeating the refrain "I’m gonna wish upon a star, I’m gonna go a little too far" so many times that I thought it was some rap music sample run amok.
At the end of this, Alexis slides back onto her chair at the bar just
in time for Justin to bumble in and ask where Kelly is. She acts
surprised, claims she doesn’t know, and ask him to sit down with her.
There’s some prattle, which I can briefly summarize as Alexis saying
that Kelly is a nice girl and party-boy Justin should move on, causing
Justin to deliver some empty-headed poppycock about how Kelly is the
girl for him forever. Wow, you know, being accused of being a party
person on this beach really is the scarlet letter of shame, absolvable
only by professing your eternal love for a person you’ve exchanged about
fifty words with. Where is this beach anyway? Iran?
Kelly, because of the text messaging skullduggery, ends up at the
beach alone. Really alone—the beach is so empty it might as well be in
Newfoundland. Somehow I doubt the beach in Miami would be entirely
empty like this prior to midnight during Spring Break. Kelly has this do
that makes her look like the Chiquita Banana Woman. Oof. And Kaya shows
up because…well, because the characters seem to follow each other around
a lot in this movie. They commiserate about how Justin really is a party
horndog trog and a jerkaholic and a dastardly stander-upper of good
girls. Oh, like who cares what they say, really. Kaya encourages Kelly
to join her at some party.
Eddie threatens to jump out a window if the big guy comes any closer,
pathetically reasoning that he’s such a loser that all the trouble that
would subsequently come down on the big guy’s head wouldn’t be worth the
hassle. First off, I hate when people don’t stand up for themselves and
call themselves losers—anybody who even tried to hit me
like that would have a 5’1" can of red-headed whoopa$$ opened on them.
Second, if that big guy really had hit Eddie in the face, he would have
probably knocked Eddie’s head clean off.
When we next run into Eddie, he’s sitting in a cabana drinking a beer with the big guy, who is introduced via flatline dialogue as Craig. Well, I think it’s beer—both guys appear to purposely hold the bottle labels away from the camera. Craig nervously laughs that he can’t believe he’s having a beer with the guy who stole his girlfriend. Eddie dispenses with a little relationship advice, trying to keep Craig—who seems to be pondering whether or not to pound Eddie after all—from getting excited with forced cheer and rambling. Isn’t this some funny stuff? Player scores the girl and Nerdguy gets thumped for it! Despite the fact he’s a Nerdguy! When will the madcap hilarity end?!? Watching this, the three of us sat quietly and completely expressionless, like twentysomething versions of the statutes on Easter Island. This scene is a little weird also, like the Plot-O-Matic can’t quite figure out what it wants the robots on the screen to do. At one point when Eddie’s face is turned away, Nerdgirl walks by.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, we were about to cut to another snoozer
soul number beside a pool. After some blah blah between the girls about
how bad Justin’s been treating Kelly (what?), they attempt what sounds
like a cover of "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" with an associated dance routine,
shambling around like a squad of 6th graders doing their
first routine of "Everybody Dance Now" for their parents on
This idiocy plays itself out for awhile as they roar around floating obstacles. It turns out Luke is all hat and no cattle. The two craft almost collide and Luke is sent a-tumblin’ like a tumbleweed butt-over-teakettle into the sea. Justin makes it to shore, gives us a husky toughguy pose as he dismounts, and watches as lifeguards pull Luke’s sputtering carcass out of the Atlantic. What we’re supposed to swallow here is that a native Texan has lost a competition combining football skills and operating loud, gas-guzzling pieces of useless machinery. I’m not buying it.
The movie clanks on. After the spray settles, Kelly LJBFs Luke again and Officer Cutler—the hottie cop—appears, citing Player for running numbers on the Ski-Doo race. I don’t know the criminal code all that well, but I think that this, taken in conjunction with his previous run-ins with the local blue, would more than likely lead to his arrest.
Let’s see, what else? Kaya goes to Carlos to apologize, and he, in turn angrily shoos her away. Skipping ahead a bit, this sets up the obligatory apology scene wherein Carlos goes to Kaya and apologizes for being a jerk to her. You know it’s a Chick Flick when there’s a whole lotta apologizing going on. This leads to Carlos taking Kaya out on a candle-lit dinner. Carlos is probably the cutest guy in the movie. Call me a sucker for Latin kings, but I have to say, the rest of these guys aren’t firestarters.
Oh, and going to the well twice with the same creaky cliché, Alexis
sidles up to Justin, getting all kissy face on him as Kelly looks on
aghast from afar, and she mistakenly believes that Alexis and
Justin are tight. Despite the fact that afterwards Justin recoils from
the blondroid. Despite the fact that Luke had just done the same thing
to her. Then Alexis goes to Kelly, explaining to her that Justin was
just using her as a footstool girl to step up to Alexis. What an
Back to the Justin and Kelly saga, which I’m sure had everybody on the edge of their seats in the theatre…waiting to spring for the door. Justin catches up with Kelly. He gets angry when Kelly says that she was shocked—shocked—that she saw him kissing Alexis. This movie really is the personification of the Idiot Movie taken to the absolute limit. What Iscove has done is taken the romantic comedy ‘faux misunderstanding’ ploy far past the breaking point. No sentient beings could possibly be this stupid. Once again, a scriptwriter is so lazy that instead of dialogue or clever plot mechanisms to instill the necessary obstacles for a romantic comedy, we get repeated use of some of most threadbare plot contrivances imaginable.
OK, let’s wrap this up. Kelly finds herself poolside with the other girls. Through a slip by Alexis, she finds out about the text-messaging chicanery that has driven this ridiculous story masquerading as a plot after scrolling through the cell phone’s memory. R2-Alexis beeps out some explanation that she did it because she felt like Mrs. Runner-Up to Kelly and that she was feeling insecure and that—secretly—wallflower Kelly has always made her feel hollow and that, despite being popular, she has always felt she was in Kelly’s shadow. All of this is pure fiction, unfettered by any anchor in reality. If any of the most attractive of my peers in high school and undergraduate school envied me, they hid it well.
After Alexis comes clean, Kelly and Justin meet up finally for the big reconciliation. This hideous rite is carried out by having Kelly off pining for Justin by her lonely little self poolside, singing over some maudlin piano drivel a paean for her lost love called—according to the credits—"Anytime." Justin appears, having been sent by a repentant Alexis, and joins in the song. Oh no. It’s a love duet. As the two sing over the swelling crescendo of mystery string schmaltz, we get a working definition of the word ‘overwrought.’ Now, we’ve heard some really terrible stuff up to now. But "Anytime" takes the cake. It is, without a doubt, the sappiest, thickest, most pathetic weeper I’ve ever had the misfortune to suffer through. How do I describe Justin and Kelly’s love ballad duet? Let me count thy ways:
OK, I feel better now. There are a couple of penultimate scenes to tie up a couple plot threads. Nerdguy Eddie meets his Nerdgal flame. Officer Cutler appears with her hair down and impresses Player Brandon. They appear ready for some (of course) offscreen romp. Alexis and Kelly even look to have patched things up to some extent.
Then, somewhere here near the end comes the final travesty, a
poolside dance routine featuring another hideous cover, this time of
"That’s the Way I Like It" from K.C. and the Sunshine Band, sang by all
six of the primary characters and played with all the punch of a
cellphone ringtone. A strong case could be made that this is the
worst song ever recorded. Kelly struts her stuff in this torn top
that looks likes she’s wearing a miniaturized version of those hanging
scrubber things you see in an automatic car wash. The choreography here
once again has Justin and Kelly as the centerpieces—not a good idea at
all, I’m afraid. Some real dancers move on the perimeter, threatening to
inject some talent into this flavorless morass of overcooked R&B, but
luckily Iscove and Travis Payne, the choreographer, keep them off to the
side so as not to excite us in any way while the nursing home rock
blares and the credits roll.
"And the Angel of the Bored appeard to ye losers who sup at thy barrel bottom and ye dwellers of thy cellars, and spake of sounds unholy in thy musical artes. For it is sayd that, lo talent may be absent, but some artistes may deny such, and attempt to gain thy fame without such. And so, shall it be written, that for the course of thou unholy musical, as far removed from that which is listenable as the Heavens shall allow, thy roadhouse Karaoke-singin’ mall rats shall be inspired to concoct tunes—poems of such foul wretchedness as to fill the nostrils of the God-fearin’ folk of thy kingdom. And a pox and fury shall inhabit the land, and thy fame shall flee on feet of flames. So shall it be done."
What horrible music! I can’t imagine less memorable beats in a musical then what I just suffered through. In fact, only the two covers stand out and that’s because both just about sent me running out of the room with my hands over my ears. Not since Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: the Movie has a musical dished up such flame-broiled garbage. It’s sugary. It’s nauseating. After watching this, I felt like someone had popped a loaded cake-frosting gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger.
[***Buttinksi Ken: Actually, this holds true for martial arts movies, too. Watch the stairwell fight in Mortal Kombat for a prime example. The main star is given a lot of extremely complex moves, second banana Lindsey Anderson (Johnny Cage) is assigned somewhat less elaborate fight choreography, and the actress playing Sonya is, if you pay attention, given about one move at a time to perform. However, careful editing makes them all seem—almost—equally adept at kicking ass.]
fawning obeisance. Some
Kelly: "This is really great!"
I’ll leave you with a little epilogue. Like a voice rising from a foggy charnel pit, Kelly has been getting some checkout lane magazine covers of late and I heard her name touted for some network claptrap music event. I guess P.T. Barnum was right. Over a year after this movie came out and a couple years before it danced before my sleepy green eyes, I saw—quite by accident in an Edinburgh hotel—an old interview with Kelly Clarkson on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart, of course, savaged the movie mercilessly, but spared Kelly his forked tongue until she went off on obviously rehearsed monologue of praise of how wonderful From Justin to Kelly was and how great a director Robert Iscove is and so on. Stewart would have none of it, cutting her off and braying, "Kelly! Kelly! You don’t have to do this!"
The Critics Rave!
"It’s sad that after Moulin Rouge and Chicago worked so hard to resurrect the musical, From Justin to Kelly had to go and kill it all over again."
—Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"An 80-minute cavalcade of music-video-style numbers, strung together
with long fits of dialogue for pretty, gym-toned androids who are given
the names of characters."
—Jan Stuart, Newsday
"The wrong movie was called From Hell"
—Scott Foy, Schlocktoberfest.Com
"One of the worst movies you’ll ever see—but it’s still not worth
—Heather Havrilesky, Salon
-by Eva Vandergeld