Mariah Carey suffered a nervous breakdown shortly after finishing her first starring role in a feature film. After viewing Glitter, it?s not hard to see why.
It?s only September, and it?s apparent that Glitter is not just the worst movie of 2001, but it could possibly be the worst film of the last five years. One would think that a movie already having such low expectations going in could come up with some pleasing moments and actually surprise you with, at least, a cohesive plot.
However, Glitter is not only as bad as you thought ? it?s worse.
How this movie was even made is beyond the comprehension of this reviewer. Glitter never makes it clear what it is trying to do.
So Carey plays wannabe singer Billie Frank, a dancer with her two foster-home lifemates, who gets discovered.
At first, there is a subplot involving Billie?s mother, Lillian (Valerie Pettiford), and her own never-fully-realized potential as a singer. So Lillian becomes a drunk and burns down the already-crummy apartment young Billie was living in. Put up for foster care, Billie wonders throughout the film what ever happened to her mother.
Then there is the obvious subplot of being discovered for the stellar voice she possesses. However, if that were the point of the story, the film would have ended 30 minutes into the picture. About 45 minutes in, you wish that it had.
So Billie gets to be what is called a “ghost voice” for an untalented, but supposedly more attractive, girlfriend of hot music promoter Timothy (Terrence Howard). Once local DJ Dice (Max Beesley) gets wind of the scheme, he makes an ill-fated deal with Timothy so he can manage Billie himself. Yes, to put an end to the suspense ? Billie and Dice become an item.
And while it?s predictable to have Billie make it big and Dice turn to jealousy of her fame and attention from other guys, the makers of Glitter take that route anyway. After all, why stray from the formula?
Character development is not really important here either. When Billie has trouble on the set of her first video, she is apologetic and worries about her reputation. However, she somehow turns into psycho diva later when she misses one dance step and walks out of a dance rehearsal. Then again, that may not have been acting. But her transformation is assumed by the audience that anyone who makes it big automatically acquires an inflated ego and no major events are needed to explain why.
And get this ? it takes place in 1983.
That?s right, the 80s. However, you wouldn?t know it by Carey?s hair, makeup and clothing. All of which comes directly out of Carey?s off-screen persona?s perpetually-updating wardrobe. Which of course adds, but doesn?t distract, to the fact that at no point does Carey make a believable character out of her Billie Frank when she is not hitting her high notes throughout this impossibly low movie.
But to criticize the realistic, or lack thereof, aspects of this movie would be as easy as the temptation to walk out of the theater. But the poor direction and even worse script pale in comparison to the unbearable performances by all involved.
Beesley comes across as a one-dimensional, immature high school jock disgruntled by the fact that his cheerleader girlfriend is ogled by his fellow teammates. Pettiford?s Lillian looks older at the beginning of the film when Billie is 8 years old than at the end when her daughter is 30. Howard?s Timothy is predictable and annoying as an unimposing bad guy who threatens Billie. But Carey takes the cake by making the worst crossover career decision since Garth Brooks wanted to become a baseball player.
In fact, every decision made during the production of this film is a classic case of the metaphor about digging the hole even deeper. It?s a human response to take pity on those involved with this production, but after further consideration, they may have gotten just what they deserve.
If one good thing came out of Carey?s trip to the mental hospital, it is that the inevitable release of this bile was postponed for, at least, a few weeks.
o Rated PG-13 o