It really doesnít take intelligence, wit, vision, or creativity to roll out a cash cow. Sometimes itís almost a craps shoot determining which films make money and which films donít. Some films however, are guaranteed moneymakers, regardless of their content. So why not stop right now and proclaim Crossroads a hit, because people will watch anything as long as it has Britney Spears in it.
Crossroads stars pop-singer Britney Spears as Lucy, goody girl, valedictorian, and all around bookish nerd. Well, at least thatís what weíre supposed to believe. Personally I find it a bit hard to swallow. How many gorgeous blonde social outcasts did you have sitting next to you in science class? I sorta feel like I got the shaft, my lab partner was always Dusty Pagel, a slightly smelly hemophiliac with a strange love of freshmen boys. Regardless, Lucy ends up hopping in a car with three childhood friends and a random, scruffy looking boy to drive cross country, discovering life, love, and sexy underwear in the process.
Before I begin the inevitable assault, let me first compliment director Tamra Davis on the way she crafted the film to play to Britneyís strengths. Aware that Miss Spears has no acting talent to speak of, Davis chose instead to highlight her smoking hot body to cover up her barely adequate line delivery. In fact, the entire film seems constructed to find excuses to display Britney in a wide assortment of underwear, bikiniís and PG shower scenes. By striking contrast, her two companions apparently donít shower or change, since they always seem to be fully clothed while Britney dances about in front of them in various states of undress. Thatís not to say that the entire film is a series of scantily clad scenes. Most of the time Britney is sufficiently dressed to suit her role. Though Davis did have the sense to wet her down as often as possible, just to get us through till the next panty scene.
Itís really quite entertaining to watch the film attempt to deal with more serious issues like child abandonment, teen pregnancy, and rape while scheming to find ways to get Lucyís (Britney) friends out of the picture so she can be alone with a hot guy. At some point, you almost feel sorry for the two actresses playing her friends, stuck as they are quite literally back in the shadows of practically every scene while Britney struts about attempting to look painfully cute.
Eventually, a movie which almost starts out as an ensemble piece is totally and completely overtaken by the character of Lucy. Like some black plague covering the land, she steals her friendís dreams of becoming a singers, relegating them to some dimly lit corner of the stage where their shapes are only barely visible while she basks in the bright glow of the spotlight. Iím not speaking metaphorically either. They are LITERALLY stuck out of sight for the last scene. I almost didnít see them at all except for their shadows swaying back and forth to the beat in front of probably inactive microphones, stationed conveniently behind the drum kit.
But, just to add an air of legitimacy, someone decided to include Dan Aykroyd in this fiasco. This in itself is not particularly surprising, Aykroyd having proven time and time again that heíll do practically anything. Really, what awful film would be complete these days without a Dan Aykroyd cameo? In this case, he plays Lucyís father, a stern and demanding man who suffers from chronic constipation. Iím only guessing at the state of his bowels, but Aykroyd seems to be putting a lot of effort to portray him as severely wooden and badly backed up, so I can only assume itís true.
Yet, I cannot in good conscience claim watching Crossroads was entirely a miserable experience. Britney is after all, every bit as hot as her reputation, and she is wearing quite less in this film than is even normal for her. Beyond a bit of shameless T&A, Crossroads does also manage to be outrageously funny, albeit entirely unintentionally. So should you feel a need to spend the day mercilessly mocking something, Crossroads will happily fill it.
Reviewed By: Joshua Tyler