Ok, I’ll be fair, this tomato ain’t all rotten. Miss Spears does have a sweet ass, and her entrance is gleefully enjoyable, as she prances around in smallish underwear while singing along to Madonna’s “Open Your Heart”. It’s nice, for sure, but then the walking turn-off that is Dan Aykroyd walks in and it’s all downhill from there. First, we’re to believe little Britney is not the pampered singing stripper we all love, but a regular girl. Scratch that, a nerdy girl actually, the unpopular Valedictorian of her Georgia high school. Oh yeah, big ugly nerd there, with her flowing dyed blonde locks, perfect tan, manicured hands and boob job!
But let’s play along for awhile, and pretend we buy that Spears is playing Lucy, the Valedictorian, all proper and perfect and a virgin (shock!), with no friends besides her geeky lab partner. She used to be best-friends-forever with Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning) in grade school, but they’ve drifted apart since. Kit became one of the beautiful ones, as bitchy as she thinks she’s popular, and self-proclaimed trailer trash Mimi is pregnant and bitter. They’re so different now, as different stereotypes as an unimaginative hack screenwriter could come up with… Except that the three young “actresses” are so bad that there’s hardly any distinction between their characters: they’re all similarly dumb, phoney and annoyingly giggly. In any case, all it takes for them to get back to their old ways is to dig up a time box where they put their dreams away as kids, which prompts them to go on a road trip to California.
Original, isn’t it? And I haven’t even mentioned Ben (Anson Mount), the older dude who drives these underage bimbos across the country. Oh, and he just got out of jail, possibly for murder, as seems to imply how he listens to Cypress Hill’s “How I could Just Kill a Man” on his car radio instead of the trio’s beloved NSYNC*. Speaking of which, you know these obnoxious, pointless scenes in movies where the characters sing along to the radio? They have that in “Crossroads”, not once, not twice, but three fricking times! And that’s without counting the Karaoke night, where the girls somehow amass nearly a grand in tips for ruthlessly wrecking Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock’n’Roll”. So these 17 year olds are out on the road with an old killer, but he’s so cute (says them), and how can you not love a guy who not only doesn’t laugh at your “poetry”(it’s actually the lyrics to Spears’ current hit ballad Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”!), but composes music to go with it? Might as well give the big guy your precious cherry, eh?
Sounds like a movie you wouldn’t even watch on TV, right? It gets worse. Do I have to tell you about all the horrendous melodrama we’re afflicted with during the film? Date rape! Cheating fiancés! Cold, uncaring mothers! Miscarriage! Do I even have to tell you that Britney Spears is a lousy actress? I don’t feel like wasting much more time on this dud, it’s already robbed me of two hours when I could have been doing something more enjoyable, say, flipping creamers. I could forgive how badly directed, badly written and badly acted it is if it worked as brainless popcorn entertainment, but it can’t even do that. “Crossroads” is painfully dull, with one unconvincing scene after another of manufactured sap, unfunny girlie crap, Pepsi product placement and Britney singing like a duck whenever she gets the chance.
I never looked at my watch so often during a movie. An hour into it, it felt like six, so lifeless everything on screen is. I spent the last act chanting in my head: End. End. END FOR CHRISSAKES! Late in the film, one of the girls says: “I can’t believe this road trip is over,” then Britney’s Lucy asks: “Doesn’t it feel like we left home a million years ago?” DEAR GOD YES! ENOUGH ALREADY! Avoid “Crossroads” at all costs, even if you’re hot for Brit; her sweet ass isn’t enough to save you from being bored into a coma.