Successful CD may pull Spears out of her downward spiral


October 31, 2007|By LIZ SMITH | LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Services

NOT A `comeback!' I hate that word. It's a return, a return to the millions of people who have never forgiven me for deserting the screen!"

So said Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd.

Speaking of ... returns. I've said for years that Britney Spears would bounce back. She has. Her single, "Gimme More" is a great big hit, and her album which hit stores yesterday has received excellent reviews. Some say it's her best CD, ever.

Britney is not a huge talent, nor is she as savvy and stable as her matron of inspiration, Madonna. But, there's nothing like mindless, enjoyable pop, and Britney's musical arrangers know what her public wants. (Britney's vocals are techno-adjusted to the max. But who stands in front of a mike and simply sings anymore?) She's back on the charts. Why don't I feel good?

Miss Spears continues to drive aimlessly around Los Angeles, attracting the paparazzi whom she occasionally attacks with umbrellas or spritzes with water. The custody of her children remains tenuous. She appears not to understand that she has two children; that her life is irrevocably altered.

I don't want Britney to fail. Especially as she is the celebrity in trouble most likely to run out of cash. But I wonder if this flush of renewed popularity will be part of her denial? Are her fans unwittingly enabling more foolish behavior? I hope Britney sees this success for what it is - her very last chance. Wise up, girl!

Good for the cause

Sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the man who has re-invented Henry VIII on Showtime's The Tudors, will perform onstage at the Celebration of Music benefit, at NY City Center. It's for a fine cause - Americans for the Arts - and also a fine plug for his next feature film, August Rush, a fantasy-style musical. Others from the movie who'll do their stuff include Freddie Highmore, Jamia Simone Nash, Leon Thomas III. (August also stars Keri Russell, Terrence Howard and Robin Williams.)

Legendary producer Phil Ramone has put it altogether. This concert will be Jonathan's first live singing appearance. Call 877-252-7814.

Skin deep

I'm sure the divine Cate Blanchett didn't exactly lie to me when she said the secret of her flawless skin was, "Simple, I don't do sun!" She doesn't have a freckle, and no doubt doesn't "do" the sun.

But imagine my surprise when I read that the Oscar-winning actress, star of the current Elizabeth: The Golden Age, is the new spokeswoman for something called SK-II, a skin-care line from Procter & Gamble. A rejuvenating mask is involved in some part of these facial ministrations. Cate represented SK-II in Australia - where the sun is relentless - but I'd not heard of that involvement until the USA announcement.

Whether it's genetic luck, fleeing the UVA rays, or her moisturizing mask, Cate's epidermis is pristine. She even says she turned Brad Pitt onto the SK-II regimen. Come to think of it, Brad is looking dewy and refreshed these days, despite his weekly tabloid traumas with Miss Jolie. (If you believe the glossies, Angela and Brad should be dead from the exhaustion of breaking up and making up, 24/7.)

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