Starring Britney Spears, Anson Mount, Zöe Saldana, Taryn Manning, Justin Long, Jamie Lynn Spears, Kool Moe Dee, Dan Aykroyd and Kim Cattrall.
Screenplay by Shonda Rhimes.
Directed by Tamra Davis.
Distributed by Zomba Films/Paramount Pictures. 93minutes. Rated PG-13.
There are some people out there, more cynical than me, who would say that Crossroads is a two-hour music video to promote Britney Spears’ under-performing third album. And that is not giving the movie or it’s star enough credit. Crossroads is simply a movie custom-tailored to ease Spears into film acting, and like past pop star vehicles like Desperately Seeking Susan (Madonna) and Purple Rain (Prince) it works specifically because you feel that Spears is playing herself, or at least something very close to her experience. (I hope for Spears’ sake that the rest of her movie career is less rocky than those artists’.) As for Spears as an actress, she has a nice unforced manner that is charismatic. Meryl Streep may not lose any sleep over it, and I don’t suggest that Spears go out and try Lady MacBeth… but she’s a lot closer to that level than she is to Mariah Carey in Glitter.
The plot is simple teen soap opera; three young girlfriends who are best friends bury a time capsule and get back together at high school graduation to dig it up. The friends have long since been broken up by the high school caste system. Spears’ Lucy is the beautiful-but-naïve smart girl. Zoë Saldana (Center Stage) plays Kit, the rich beautiful popular girl. Taryn Manning is Mimi, the tough, pregnant trailer trash who wants to go to California to become a singer.
Their differences are put behind them a little too quickly, and then they decide to go on a road trip with Mimi because Lucy’s long-absent mother lives in Arizona and Kit’s fiancé goes to UCLA. They are driven by a dreamy guitarist (Anson Mount) who may or my not have killed someone in his shady past, but he is still kind of gorgeous so they are willing to overlook that possible indiscretion.
The storyline is a little too pat… anyone who can’t figure out the secret identity of the father of Mimi’s baby a half hour into the movie just isn’t trying, and yet when it is revealed it is very disappointing that the movie had really stooped to such an obvious plot point. Kim Cattrall as Lucy’s estranged mother seems much too unfeeling to be a real character, she’s just a screenwriter’s device to get from point A to point B. Also kind of wasted is Dan Aykroyd as Lucy’s overprotective father. It’s kind of sad how easily Aykroyd has slipped into supporting dad roles… but then again this movie isn’t about the grown-ups. It is about taking arguably the best known female pop star in the world and giving her a painless transition to film. On that level the film works like a charm and is a perfectly satisfying viewing experience. (2/02)
Copyright ©2002 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: February 15, 2002.