Monday, July 26, 2004

Minor delay in completing the Mellies as I don't have my Excel file on me.  Sorry.  Maybe tomorrow night.

In the meantime, thought I'd mention my new favorite movie:

From Justin to Kelly

This movie was meant squeeze the last cash out of the first season American Idol winner and runner-up.  Fortunately (I guess) Kelly Clarkson is still able to sell records to somebody out there, so it's not all a loss.  Unfortunately, Justin Guarini (the Justin of From Justin to Kelly, and first-runner up from AI Season 1) was already let go from his record contract after lackluster sales of his premier album. 

I had watched most of AI Season 1, and had not really supported either of the two finalists.

With that context in mind, From Justin to Kelly (henceforth FJTK) hit cable roughly... oh...  roughly six months after Guarini was back sacking groceries at the Winn-Dixie.  I hope he has a good broker.

This movie surpasses so many others in it's awesome badness.  Nothing is good in this movie.  Not the plot, not the script, not the concept, not the constumes, not the casting, not the dancing, the music or the lighting. 

The semitalented stars of AI light up the silver screen

The story, as I have pieced together from watching bits and pieces on cable, is this: 

Kelly comes to Florida for Spring Break from Texas (I'm not sure dissecting her decision to forego the equally popular Texas coast is necessary) in order to get away from, basically, Texas or the south or somewhere.  Rest assured, according to Hollywood, you MUST GET THE HELL OUT OF WHEREVER YOU ARE FROM AND GO TO WHERE THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ARE.  You know.  LA. 

I have to tell you, I watched a good chunk of this movie, and I got more out of the synopsis on the web-site about what was happening than anything I saw in the movie.  In fact, as lacking in plot as FJTK is, I wasn't really aware the characters were supposed to have any motivation.

But FJTK is nothing, if not a musical.  And it is nothing if not a poorly directed musical. 

The first sign of music that I recall is some really, really good rapping and beat boxing by Justin and his "Playah" friend with whom he has come to Florida.  While a family-friendly movie, the Playah is there to get laid, and his tools of the trade are about as refined as those of Grease's T-Birds.  The largest danger is not that your kid is going to learn something he shouldn't from this movie, but that your kid will believe he or she will ever be able to talk to anybody like this without getting punched in the crotch.  Because this guy seriously needs to be punched in the crotch.

Now, Kelly's introduction bears what will most surely be a controversial criticism, but a criticism nonetheless. 

Kelly Clarkson is a lovely girl, pie-faced though she might be, and she is a decent singer and dancer and blah blah blah.

Kelly is also the least attractive girl to appear in the movie, and not the strongest singer. 

I don't know where they cast this movie, but every character in the cast is camera/ swimsuit friendly, can dance their pants off (the choreography being what it is), and can sing like a pro.  Except for, sadly, our friend Kelly Clarkson.  Who is lovely.  But with the rest of the cast uniformly beautiful and synchronized, Kelly's Elaine-like dancing and "prettiest girl at her 2A school" looks, it's kind of... sad.

Especially as, after tossing off all of her opening lines about not needing a guy, or doubting she'll meet one or blah blah blah "look what a normal, chaste girl I am", Clarkson then leads everyone on the beach in some dirty dancing involving beach balls and lots of hip grinding. 

At this point, I might add that Justin Guarini is also not, exactly text-bbok attractive, and he sort of acts like an ass throughout the film, so why Kelly is so interested in Justin is impossible to determine.  It might help to know that Justin gets into a fight with Kelly's Texas boyfriend (who wears a ten-gallon hat), and the dispute is resolved with a jet-ski race.  I might add that this is how the Steans clan likes to resolve it's difficulties.  So don't piss me off, lest I RACE YOUR ASS.

Anyway, Kelly kind of meets Justin, gets shy and...  you know... the plot is totally irrelevant and involves a lot of text-messaging.  And dancing.  Lots of bad dancing and worse singing.  And I probably wouldn't have noticed that they used the same twenty dancers, except one dancer has neon red-hair, as if to say "look, I may not be all that talented, but I'm interesting to look at, and I know this movie is going to suck, but I want to be able to point myself out easily when I rent the DVD". 

The movie ends with Justin and Kelly finding each other on the beach and...  Jesus, does it really matter?  Anyway, they sing and dance to their own unique cover of "That's the Way (Uh-huh Uh-huh) I Like it (Uh-huh Uh-huh)" to end the movie. 

But the real question remains:  What, exactly, is being given from Justin to Kelly?  The AI crown?  The chance to look less ridiculous than himself in a movie?  Or, God forbid, his sweet, sweet lovin'?  We may never know.  And we may not want to.   

Wow.  What a great movie.  It's too bad it signals the end of all that it is good.

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