[box cover]

Glitter

The infamous Glitter. If only. If only it were supremely terrible, it would be such a great film. It's got the title. Its got the hot- pants, trying-to-be-serious Mariah Carey teetering on the edge of her real life nervous breakdown. It takes place in the '80s. It has costumes that are tight, shimmery and best of all, slutty. And it's about a sad little waif growing into a big star who sells out Madison Square Garden. It's all there. But what went wrong? Was it perhaps near-good? Was screenwriter Kate Lanier, who scribed the far superior What's Love Got to do With It?, too credible? Whatever the case, the people who put this business together misunderstood what we wanted out of Glitter. We wanted to really hate it. Hate it so much we loved it. Forget Lanier's failings. Forget critics bashing the movie for simply being a bad excuse to showcase Carey's bosom. That's fine, show more skin, get the girl screaming and get Joe Eszterhas on board. For Christ's sake, then we'd have a classic. Instead we get this limp, candy-colored movie about a little girl named Billie who's taken away from her lounge-singing mama after one too many cigarettes fall out of her hand while sleeping. She burns the house down. Funny? No, dammit! Billie (now Ms. Carey) grows up into some fly-girl type, working it in New York City circa 1983 only to be discovered by shady manager Timothy Walker (Terrence Howard), who represents hot singer Sylk (Padma Lakshmi). He uses Billie and her girlfriends (Da Brat and Tia Texada) for backup, but amps up Billie's talented pipes to surreptitiously replace Sylk's limitations. When DJ Dice (Max Beesley) figures this out, well, he's got to take Billie on himself. You see, he's got cred, and edge — all that stuff that goes along with a loft apartment, leather pants, a temper, and coffee drinking. Together they make her a star and fall in love. But what are the consequences? Does fame really mean having it all? Of course not, but where's the fun in this oh-so timeless observation? Where's the bitch-slapping, wig-pulling, or shoe-throwing? Where's the hysterical meltdown scene? Nowhere. There's just Carey, looking stupidly sweet, showing off her dolphin-sounding vocal range, and playing her character as if dosed on Paxil (perhaps she was — they needed her drunk instead). Carey is under-acting, which isn't conducive to the heels, furs and spandex; her face registers nothing but reticence, like she's trying really hard to not be bad. The film's supposed to be semi-autobiographical so we know Carey went through sleazier stuff than this. We also know she's nuts, God bless her. It just makes you mad at Glitter. Will someone please put a Whitney Houston biopic together soon? Columbia TriStar's DVD presents a colorful, pristine anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) as well as pan-and-scan (1.33:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1, which sounds great if you enjoy Carey's music. Supplements include two Carey music videos (a plus for fans), theatrical trailers, filmographies, and snazzy, bubblegum-looking menus. And, if you can believe it, there is a commentary track by director Vonde Curtis Hall, which ranges from unintentionally hilarious to just plain boring. He takes everything seriously, but mumbles "um" so many times you wonder if he's stoned. At one point he says: "The voice in this scene was done by... uh... Marianne... I don't remember Marianne's last name. She is a Mariah Carey sound-a-like and she did all the songs... because we didn't, Mariah, didn't want piracy." Huh? So much for championing the gal who sings in the shadow of the star. Keep-case.
—Kim Morgan



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