Eric D. Snider

Crossroads

"Crossroads" begins with Britney Spears dancing around in her underwear. Later, she sings some songs. What more review do you want?

Not that any non-Britney fans were considering seeing this anyway, but it's not as awful as it might have been. A non-Britney person might survive a screening with little harm done, except maybe for the last 15 minutes, which are as maudlin as any after-school special you can imagine.

Britney plays Lucy, a Georgia girl who is about to graduate from high school without ever having had much fun. Her over-protective father (Dan Aykroyd) wants her to become a doctor, but she wants to be a singer.

So does Mimi (Taryn Manning), Lucy's one-time friend who has lately gone a separate path, insofar as she's trailer trash and is several months pregnant. After graduation, Mimi's heading for L.A. to audition for a record label, and she convinces Lucy and their other one-time friend, the snobby Kit (Zoe Saldana), to go with her.

To recap: These three former friends who hardly know each other anymore decide, at the drop of a hat, to travel cross-country. They do it in a car driven by Ben (Anson Mount), a hunky man they've just met who is rumored to have once killed someone. Not the brightest trio of femmes, but OK. The trip will give them a chance to bond, and for Lucy and Ben to fall in love.

It's a road movie, then, and a juggulicious one at that, what with Britney wearing her skimpy outfits, and almost having sex a couple times, and wearing only a towel another time. You may think I'm a pervert for mentioning it, but trust me, these scenes appear in the film for no other reason than to get people's attention. Obviously, it worked.

Britney's not a bad actress; in fact, the times when she sings are the least enjoyable parts of the film. (One especially uncreative one has her singing karaoke while Kit and Mimi provide suspiciously well-choreographed unplanned dance moves.) Part of what's made her so successful as a performer is that she knows how to put on a show. She has charm, as do most of her castmates.

The film's major problem is that it doesn't go anywhere. It's allegedly about chasing your dreams, but that point isn't made with much finesse, and there are far too many uninteresting detours along the way. Very little of what happens is the least bit probable, including the aforementioned finale, which very nearly derails the whole thing.

It's not a terrible movie, though. Britney fans are probably the right demographic for it, though their parents should be aware that there is teen sex and drinking in it. Allegedly, there are Britney fans who don't have to ask their parents before seeing a movie, and I guess those people will like it, too.

Grade: C-

Rated PG-13, mild profanity, some fairly mild sexuality, under-age drinking

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