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  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
from Film Forum, 02/21/02

Last year's cinematic disaster Glitter probably persuaded some pop stars to think twice before trying their hand at movie stardom. But this year made a success story out of Mandy Moore's breakthrough in A Walk to Remember, and now the reigning queen of teen-lust and superficial, materialistic pop—Britney Spears—has a movie of her own. In it she plays a singing, dancing, scantily clad … valedictorian? This could bring new meaning to the term "suspension of disbelief."

Crossroads follows the story of three teenage girls who revisit the dreams they had back when they were ten years old. They decide it's time to fulfill those dreams, and thus a road trip is in order. Britney Spears plays the academic one, and so, of course, she spends a lot of time dancing around scantily clad and singing. Kit (Zoë Saldana) is the popularity queen. And Mimi (Taryn Manning) is the reckless, trashy one who can't bring home a good report card. Together, they hitch a ride with a musician who may or may not have a criminal record. Smart girls.

Phil Boatwright (The Movie Reporter) calls the movie clichéd, but adds, "The youngsters at the screening were enthralled by Britney's first attempt at moviemaking. And why should they think it is clichéd? For many of them, this was their first romantic road picture. It's the first time they've seen a couple embrace, sinking to the floor as the camera pans away to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean." He concludes, "She's not a singer; she's a sexual commodity. Her 'music' is all about physical movement and the exaltation of a young body that spends far more time in the gym than in vocal class. The singer's message should be an exaltation of love rather than the primer of lust."

Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) says, "It's a Britney commercial. Of even greater concern are the movie's 'if it feels good, do it' morality, and mixed messages about drunkenness and sex. Both are shown to be loads of fun, yet potentially dangerous. Sadly, since most teens think they're indestructible and uniquely equipped to beat the odds, chances are the average young viewer will embrace the fantasy with little regard for potential consequences."

Holly McClure (Crosswalk) expressed her disappointment: "It has too many adult issues and themes and tries to be too serious for the age group who will flock to see it. Parents, if you let your daughters see this movie, make sure you discuss it afterward."

"The casualness with which this film treats the lead character's sexual 'awakening' is something that parents of young Britney wannabes will most likely find troubling," says Michael Elliott (Movie Parables). "Perhaps the lack of a clear moral message wouldn't be much of an issue were another actress cast in the role. With Britney, there's a huge built-in fan base of young impressionable girls who already emulate her choice of dress, dance moves, and song styling."

"Despite Britney's popularity, Crossroads is a dead end." says Paul Bicking (Preview). "Despite Britney's public comments about saving herself for marriage, her character is shown in bed with [her boyfriend], implying they've had premarital sex."