Love on the road. Ben and Lucy (Mount and Spears) make beautiful music together
dir Tamra Davis
scr Shonda Rhimes
with Britney Spears, Zoe Saldana, Taryn Manning, Anson Mount, Dan Aykroyd, Kim Cattrall, Justin Long, Richard Voll, Kool Moe Dee, Beverly Johnson, Bahni Turpin, David Guber Allen
release US 15.Feb.02; UK 29.Mar.02
02/US 1h30

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
make the journey This coming-of-age road movie is certainly not the worst pop star debut in movie history. But the verdict on Britney the actress is still out--waiting for a better film than this. She stars as Lucy, a brainy 18-year-old with a doting single dad (Aykroyd) who is reunited with two friends, spoiled popular girl Kit (Saldana) and pregnant trailer trash Mimi (Manning). The three had drifted apart over the years and are now suddenly back together, driving from Georgia to Los Angeles, each for her own reason, with a mysterious-yet-sexy stranger (Mount). Adventures and Important Life Lessons ensue.

For the genre, this is an above average screenplay that attempts to cut against the grain. So it's even more disappointing that it's basically just a contrived series of scenes for us to see Britney emoting, cavorting, romancing, whatever. There's a very strong tease factor, as we see her scantily clad, lip synching to Madonna or Shania Twain or even doing a karaoke pole dance! Meanwhile, the stereotypical characters and situations are at least engaging and entertaining on a certain level, even if their personal journeys and the plot's events are utterly predictable. Lucy's transformation from class valedictorian to sexy singer isn't remotely convincing. Although director Davis tries to be edgy and honest, only the sequence involving Lucy's mother (Cattrall in a wonderfully understated cameo) has bite. So this is pretty much the definition of a wait-for-the-video movie. Spears still looks a bit too young to really exude star presence on screen, but on this evidence it's only a matter of time.
themes, language cert PG 17.Mar.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
make the journey send your review to Shadows... Laura, England: "I think Britney is really good in this film. I was not a fan of hers until I watched the movie, and I thought it was really good. I think it is the dream adventure for girls. We all want to leave home and go on a road trip and especially meet a handsome, sexy, gentle boyfriend. I think it is a really good film and appeals to teenage girls all over the world. I know I would love to meet a man like Ben (Anson). Well I just wanted to say that I thought it was an excellent film and that I can't stop watching it." (28.Dec.02)

steph, bollin close: 4/5 "The film is really good for young people." (14.Mar.06)

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall