Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

When pop divas make a movie, they have to pretend it's more than a showcase for the soundtrack. Maria Carey hardly bothers. The script follows such a well-trodden route, it's nothing more than backdrop for the next breathy ballad.

She gets to change clothes a lot and stride through the dingy night streets of New York in black leather jacket, tight jeans and stilletos without being approached by men in cars. The cosmetic budget must have been huge since she won't allow herself to face a camera in anything but full warpaint. Her acting skills stretch to tears a couple of times, but mostly she's a Who from Whoville, thankfully unaccompanied by The Grinch.

Copy picture

She calls herself Billie Frank, who starts as a backup singer to the girlfriend of a record producer and is discovered by Dice (Max Beezley), a DJ in Chicago. He says he will make her a star. She says okay. He says come up to my place. She says no. He says five minutes. She says three. You know the rest.

Everything you dread about the music business is here. Except drugs, surprisingly enough. Once she's signed to the big record company, her mates, who dance and sing doo-wap behind her, are sidelined and a pretentious movie director hired to shoot the pop video with a bunch of beefy male hoofers. Dice finds himself superfluous to requirements, as fame whisks Billie to the heights of phony heaven.

Has she lost touch with her roots? Of course. What are her roots? That's another story, swiftly passed over during the opening credits. Mom (Valarie Pettiford) was a blues singer, a boozer and black. When the going got tough, she gave her little girl away to social services. Somewhere out there, she's suffering still. Maybe. Billie wants to know. It's a ties-that-bind kinda thing.

Beezley has the looks of Jon Bon Jovi. He's a convincing club stud, way out of his league in the big pool. Even though the sexual chemistry doesn't work, he stands his ground and is not intimidated by Carey's stella rep. Tia Texada and Da Brat, as Billie's best friends and stage backup, are the most fun people in the movie. When they are elbowed off screen, there's noone left with a sense of humour.

Carey has the voice. Jennifer Lopez has the body. Kylie has the hunger. Madonna has the juice. Bette Midler has the wit. Let's hear it for the girls! They try and even if they fail, they sell records.

Reviewed on: 27 Nov 2001
Share this with others on...
Glitter packshot
Mariah Carey plays a backup singer who is discovered by a DJ and becomes a megastar.
Amazon link

Director: Vondie Curtis Hall

Writer: Kate Lanier

Starring: Mariah Carey, Max Beesley, Da Brat, Tia Texada, Valarie Pettiford, Ann Magnuson, Terrence Dashon Howard

Year: 2001

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


Search database:

If you like this, try: