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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Crossroads
Crossroads
Paramount // PG-13 // July 23, 2002
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by D.K. Holm | posted September 30, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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The Movie:
Crossroads was photographed by a friend of mine but I am not biased. This movie looks great. Eric Edwards is one of the best cinematographers in the business (Copland, Kids, To Die For), and the viewer should expect no less than stellar work from him. Director Tamra Davis agrees. At one point in her introduction to deleted scenes she lavishly praises a shot of Britney Spears, seen in a car's rear view mirror. It is a great shot.

One of the things I've learned about cinematographers from seeing Edwards's movies is that they have "themes" just like directorial "auteurs." Robert Richardson loves direct overhead highly contrasting lighting, like a single bulb over a door frame (see Bringing Out the Dead for the most examples). Edwards seems to be attracted to scripts in which important matters are decided on front porches. The biggest example occurs in Flirting in Disaster, when a major reunion occurs on a doorstep. In this film it is in chapter 12, when the main character surprises her biological mom at the front door of her lavish southwestern home. It's a scene, by the way, that is a lot like scenes in the subsequent Banger Sisters.

But of course Edwards isn't the only "auteur" involved in the film. There is Davis, and of course the star-child actress turned pop diva Britney Spears, the Heather Locklear-clonish singer whose specialties are trampy clothes and that glorified throat-clearing sound derived from country western music.

The first thing to say about the film is that Spears is not at all bad. But then, you wouldn't expect her to be bad, would you, given that she has spent her whole life in show biz? Well, you might expect it if you are one of those culture snobs who just naturally dismisses pop artifacts pro forma. Which isn't to deny that the film is geared for a specific demographic. On that level the film succeeds. In fact, I would hazard to say that parents in good conscience could let there pre- and early-teen daughters go to this film knowing that nothing really "bad" happens in it, and that the film ends up affirming the importance of parents (while carefully distinguishing between good and bad ones and noting that parents need to "let go" at some point).

Davis is a video director turned director and her roots in music make her a good choice for this film. Also, the story is a "road film" with a young blond, so her TV movie remake of Guncrazy provides a form of template for this film.

Spears plays southern girl Lucy Wagner, who, as in Cameron Crowe's Say Anything …, has an over-protective single dad (Dan Aykroyd) who encourages her academic career, which he has all mapped out for her.

She and two other former childhood friends who have drifted apart, and a quickly selected driver, suddenly head west. Lucy wants to visit her mom (Kim Cattrall), who turns out to be a disappointment. Kit (Zoe Saldana) wants to visit her boyfriend. Mimi (Taryn Manning) is an unwed mother trying to get away from town and become a singer. It turns out that Kit and Mimi have more in common than they expected. Their driver is Ben (Anson Mount), whom they kind of think is a criminal but who turns out to be the kind of guy who can land in Los Angeles and say, "I'm gonna go try to put a band together," and do it.

In its way, Crossroads is a lot of fun, both as campy fun, but also as a story about difficult transitions in this crazy world. It is a surprisingly competent film if what you are used to in rock star vehicles is middle-career Elvis movies. Well-shot, well-acted, and "mature," it suffers only from having way too many contrived "parting" and "reunion" scenes.


The DVD

VIDEO: With Crossroads: Special Collector's Edition, Paramount provides Spears fans with a clean, crisp transfer of the widescreen (anamorphic, 1.85:1) film on a single-sided, dual layered disc.

SOUND: A solid Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track complements the songfest and the numerous road scenes. The audio is in both English, and French, with English subtitles.

MENUS: A very active, musical menu offers 18 chapter scene selection for the 93 minute movie.

EXTRAS: Spears fans will have an informative Britney-fest with this packed disc.

Director, writer and producer audio track Director Davis, writer Shonda Rhimes, and producer Ann Carli provide an unusually informative yak track. The three women know what they are talking about, actually liked making the movie, and even enjoy pointing out the mistakes.

Deleted scenes Davis introduces a few deleted or extended scenes. In one, the three girls, during a stop over in New Orleans, prank their fellow guests on a hotel floor by knocking on their doors and flashing them (don't worry, mom, you don't see anything).

"The Making of Crossroads: 40 Days with Britney" This "making of" documentary contains the usual interviews with the cast and crew, as well as multiple statements from Spears describing how the film came about and why she wanted to make it

"First In Line: Inside the Crossroads Premiere" A nothing featurette in which we ride in a limo with co-star Saldana and see Spears for about 40 seconds.

"Taryn's T-Shirts" In this 12-minnute features, co-star Manning and actress/clothing designer Jackie Denning show the film's target demographic how costumier Wendy Schecter (listed as Wendy Partridge in the IMDB) made the shirts for Spears's Britney's "I Love Rock and Roll" scene.

"Break Through Britney" One of the more interesting features, this consists of "ifinifilm" style pop-up facts shown as the film is rolling.

Rest of the extras The disc isn't done yet. Also features on hand include Spears's DVD Welcome, two music videos ("Overprotected" and "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"), "Sing Along with Britney," a karoake feature, "edit your own music video," a photo gallery, TV spots, and theatrical trailers.

Final Thoughts: Perfect for Spears fans, and even their parents could like it.


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