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GLITTER

SYNOPSIS:
As a young child, Billie (Isabel Gomes) makes her singing debut with her mother Lillian Frank (Valarie Pettiford), when she is singing in a small African American nightclub in the 70s. Lillian has alcohol and drug problems and is forced to put Billie into an orphanage. Now it is 1983 and Billie (Mariah Carey) and friends, backup singers Louise (rapper Da Brat) and Roxanne (Tia Texada) are trying to break into the Manhattan disco scene. Record producer Timothy Walker (Terrence Howard) signs up the girls and Billie's talent and beauty catches the eye of disco DJ (Max Beesley).

Whatever you think of her singing career, Mariah Carey is a total loss as an actress - a round-faced doll, alternately smiling and sorrowful, seemingly incapable of connecting with any other performer. A loose reworking of A Star Is Born in an 80s disco setting, Glitter is a vanity project in the worst sense: everything revolves around the star's brilliant talent, soulful pining, and hard-won rise to fame. As if to distract us from the lameness of the story, the director, Vondie Curtis Hall, tries to literalise the title with visual dazzle: orbiting the camera round skyscrapers, flash-panning past city lights, visualising Billie's joy with a burst of fireworks. These repetitive tricks get old fast, and there's nothing much else to grab your attention - though Max Beesley might make a good romantic comedy lead in a film that wasn't filled with unplayable scenes. Everything comes out false and awkward: the you-go-girl affirmations of multiracial sisterhood, the attempts to convey the excitement of spontaneous music-making, the touches of industry satire that are supposed to show Billie as a strong woman who sticks to her principles - like what, exactly? Most of it isn't even vigorous enough to be entertaining as camp, though there are a few scenes (like the priceless moment where Billie storms out of her lover's apartment clutching her pet cat) when the film seems to suffer from a kind of death wish, bent on offering itself up for audience ridicule.
Jake Wilson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

GLITTER (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Mariah Carey, Max Beesley, Da Brat, Tia Texada, Valarie Pettiford

DIRECTOR: Vondie Curtis-Hall

PRODUCER: Laurence Mark, E. Bennett Walsh

SCRIPT: Cheryl L. West (story), Kate Lanier

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Geoffrey Simpson

EDITOR: Jeff Freeman

MUSIC: Terence Blanchard, Eric Benet (song)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Bishop

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 1, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: April 10, 2002







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