Volume 95, Issue 77

Tuesday, February 19, 2002
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Britney's Crossroads is littered with roadkill

Tomei puts out In the Bedroom

Nothing like propaganda

A trip to the hospital can't save John Q

Britney's Crossroads is littered with roadkill


Britney Spears, Taryn Manning, Zoe Saldana, Dan Akroyd, Anson Mount

Directed By: Tamra Davis

Two stars (out of five)

By Maggie Wrobel
Gazette Staff

Why did Britney cross the road?

Apparently, to make a movie in which she basically plays herself and alternates her on-screen time between appearing half-naked and singing (preferably her own songs).

Crossroads attempts to be a number of things, including a romantic comedy, a girl bonding "chick flick" and an after-school special addressing issues of teen pregnancy and parental abandonment.

In reality, the film ends up accomplishing none of these things – Crossroads is nothing more than a showcase of how adorable Britney is and how "well" she can sing.

But don't blame poor Britney, it's not entirely her fault.

Her performance in the film is half-decent, considering the awkward and cheesy material she is given to work with. Most of the blame goes to Shondra Rhimes' painfully predictable screenplay, full of clichéd concepts and lines so bland, not even Academy Award-winning actors could breathe life into them.

The characters in the movie are blatant stereotypes – starting with Britney as the initially virginal, straight-A student. Then there's Zoe Saldana as the bitchy, most popular girl in school, Taryn Manning as the girl from the wrong side of the tracks who gets pregnant and Dan Akroyd as the blue-collar father who just wants his daughter (Spears) to go to medical school.

While Spears and Manning are actually semi-believable in their roles, Saldana and Akroyd are guilty of the most flamboyant overacting since Mel Gibson's Braveheart. Saldana throws elaborate temper-tantrums with the slightest hint of provocation, while Akroyd manages to overact even his answering machine message in the film.

However, the film's worst performance belongs to newcomer Anson Mount who plays Ben, Britney's scruffy love interest. Mount's brooding persona in the film successfully channels Keanu Reeves and his wooden attempts at passion with Britney will certainly make teenage boys who wish they were in his position cry out, "Why him? He doesn't deserve her!"

The strangest thing about the film is that it touches on heavy issues such as date rape without offering any sort of moral resolution. Problems are brought up without actually offering any closure in favour of rushing towards the entirely too predictable, schmaltzy ending.

It is hard to imagine who the film's intended audience is supposed to be. Much of the subject matter is likely too mature for Britney's pre-teen fanbase, while anyone else who goes will likely be confused by the movie's own indecision about whether it is a comedy or a drama.

It does not work as a girl-bonding movie either, as Britney's friends in the film are eventually shoved into the background so Spears can shine in the spotlight without anyone taking away her glory.

Most likely, it will be fans of Britney's all-American-girl looks and her saccharine pop songs who will be most happy with Crossroads, as the film mainly shows off two things: Britney's voice and body.

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