[box cover]

Crossroads (2002)

Paramount Home Video

Starring Britney Spears, Taryn Manning, Zoe Saldana,
Anson Mount, and Dan Aykroyd

Written by Shonda Rhimes
Directed by Tamra Davis

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Review by Kim Morgan                    

Two things about Britney Spears in Crossroads: One, Britney isn't so bad. And two, Britney isn't so great.

In fact, while watching the current Queen of Pop cavort around in her underwear to Madonna's "Open Your Heart," one gets the feeling that one lucky girl just won the celebrity lottery. Let's just dissect her for a moment, shall we? She's not a tremendous singer. She's a good aerobics-style dancer with scintillating stripper moves. And she does have a rockin' bod.

But she looks like the prettiest girl on the cheerleading squad, the popular girl who must get by on her generically attractive features. Which Britney does well. It is exactly these qualities and limitations that have made Britney who she is in terms of her pre-packaged, Pepsi persona. She's a supergirl, but approachable, personable, sweet, and barely slutty. Even while donning high black boots, a midriff baring tiny-t and a miniskirt in Crossroads to sing her karaoke rendition of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'N Roll" at a club with a stripper pole, she's nothing dangerous. Eight year-old girls aren't going to start turning tricks from watching this display. However, they will love this movie and especially this DVD, which is cram-packed with extra Britney-ness.

As for the movie, director Tamra Davis (Guncrazy, Billy Madison) and writer Shonda Rhimes kept things pretty simple. Three best friends from the eighth grade grow up to be very different 18-year-olds. Lucy (Spears) is the brainy valedictorian who never went to a football game. She has a desire to sing, but she doesn't want to disappoint her hard-working daddy (Dan Aykroyd), who's quietly suffered since Lucy's mom (Kim Cattrall) walked out years earlier. Kit (Zoe Saldana) is the beautiful, popular snob who's engaged to a guy at UCLA. And Mimi (the talented Taryn Manning) is pregnant and living in a trailer park. Her dream has always been to see the world, and so, on the night of the girls' graduation, she invites her two now non-best friends to join her on a road trip from Georgia to Los Angeles. For various reasons they agree, and then jump into a 1973 Buick with an older boy (the pornographically named Anson Mount), who provides a love interest for Lucy and the means for a lot of girly bonding on and off the road.

Like the Mandy Moore picture A Walk to Remember, Crossroads is not bad for what it is. Honestly. A blend between Judy Blume's more racy books and a Sweet Valley High paperback, the movie has just enough spice to make for a pleasant experience — albeit, by the end, a very melodramatic one. And Britney carries herself with such ease (she's a much better actor than the veteran Aykroyd, who's terrible here) that we can't help but be impressed that she didn't embarrass herself as Mariah Carey did in Glitter.

But as this DVD shows, businesswoman Britney had a lot to do with the movie, from casting, to song choices, to even scene motivation. Among the special features, Paramount's Crossroads: Special Collector's Edition offers:

Paramount Home Video presents a lovely anamorphic transfer of this film (1.85:1) complementing Eric Edwards' beautiful, scenic cinematography and all the gals' cute outfits (how many ways can you make sweatpants sexy?), while audio is a strong Dolby Digital 5.1. In all, a great babysitting tool.

— Kim Morgan

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