`Glitter' a cliche from top to bottom

Review: Mariah Carey should have passed on this script, or at least taken some acting lessons.

September 22, 2001|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

This Glitter is not gold, unless you're talking about the fool's kind.

No disrespect intended to Mariah Carey, a talented singer who by all accounts possesses a work ethic that would put us all to shame. But if working on this movie is what drove her to a nervous breakdown, she needs to think about her priorities.

Girl, it wasn't worth it.

Glitter is the (perhaps semi-autobiographical) tale of a poor girl from New York who grows up hard but triumphs thanks to talent, tenaciousness and a guy named Dice. Carey is Billie Frank, and she's got it tough: Abandoned by her mother and raised in an orphanage, she forms an alliance with two friends, Louise (Da Brat) and Roxanne (Tia Texada) and starts a singing group.

That's when Dice (Max Beesley, acting like a poor man's Mark Wahlberg) enters the picture by recognizing Billie's talent and getting her signed to a major label.

But life at the top proves - surprise! - a lot tougher than you'd think. The big bad record people make her sing their songs their way, the European-born director urges her to show more flesh in her videos, and poor Dice starts feeling unappreciated (shades of A Star Is Born).

Suffice to say, things get worse.

Glitter starts imploding almost from the start. Kate Lanier's dialogue is more than a little groan-prone ("I like hangin' out wit you, Billy," a lovestruck Dice says). Vondie Curtis Hall's direction is tight, but can't overcome the thin, cliched storyline. Carey has a nice voice (although she has a tendency to screech instead of sing), but the lip-synching is noticeably off.

As for Carey's acting, let's be charitable and just say it's not there; she spends most of the film with her face frozen somewhere between bemused and astonished. Before things get out of hand, let's end this by simply noting that Glitter does no one any favors.

Glitter

Starring Mariah Carey, Max Beesley

Directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall

Released by 20th Century-Fox

Rated PG-13 (Adult language, brief violence)

Running time 115 minutes

Sun score: *

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