Glitter

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Glitter

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Occasionally, dramatic irony finds a home in places other than the movies. How else to explain Glitter, a de-fanged reworking of A Star Is Born that seems to have helped deliver a career-killing blow to its own star, Mariah Carey? To be fair, it's hard to fault Carey too much for wanting to cross over to film. Entertainment careers don't seem complete unless they take the form of multi-pronged attacks, and stars successfully cross over from music to film more frequently than those taking the opposite path. Besides, Carey's performance isn't even the worst aspect of Glitter; she simply has too much competition for that title. Blinking thoughtfully, arching her back in a series of blood-flow-inhibiting dresses, and smiling as often as possible, Carey brings the same performance tricks to Glitter as she does to her videos. The film responds in turn. Moving with a comical quickness that suggests a lot of time spent in the cutting room, Glitter sweeps past an unhappy childhood spent in the company of an alcoholic jazz-singer mom, a stint in an orphanage, Carey's time as a club fixture in '80s New York with best friends and multi-ethnic comic relief Da Brat and Tia Texada, and a job as a backup singer to an untalented aspiring diva, all before stopping to catch its breath. This it does when she falls into the arms of frequently sleeveless DJ/producer Max Beesly. (His character, "Dice," can be easily recognized by an omnipresent gold necklace that spells out his name.) Soon, Carey has signed to a major label, on the strength of a recording of "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On," and she's on her way to stardom, thanks to her ability to screech in as many octaves as an injured bunny. But will the marimba-loving Beesly have a place in Carey's life? Before the love story becomes the central issue of the film about halfway through, Glitter has all the makings of a camp classic. Carey looks uncomfortable and a bit too long in the tooth to play a post-adolescent chanteuse, everyone around her treats the material with the seriousness of Sophocles, actor/director Vondie Curtis-Hall moves the camera as if it might catch fire if it held still, the soundtrack is unadventurous even by Carey's standards, and the whole affair takes place in an early-'80s landscape in which every other character seems to be wearing either a red leather jacket or a gold lamé pantsuit. It's a trainwreckspotter's delight, until it turns dull and the unintentional hilarity grows more sporadic. A singer of Carey's popularity always has a comeback on the horizon, but the odds of it taking place in the medium of film seem slim. Glitter is less Funny Girl than Cool As Ice.

Filed Under: Film

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