From Justin To Kelly
Reviewed by Patrick Brogan
Rating: 7 Beans
hoo-boy! Here's a turkey that will keep you laughing for weeks after viewing. The Rupert Murdoch clan and the other heads at Fox know that when something is successful, try and make as much money off of a successful product as you can. The successful product was the Fox hit show AMERICAN IDOL, since it was number one during the sweeps season last year. Personally, I've never watched a episode of this show, and unless the former left handed Beatle is going to appear as one of the judges on the show, like the rumors have been spreading around, I will never watch a episode full of AMERICAN IDOL.
I can go on about reality television and my displeasure with it, but this is a web page about movies and I'll stick with the movies. Since last year the American audience "fell in love" with the two finalist, Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. The Fox executives figured that if, 'millions of Americans sat and watched the final episode of AMERICAN IDOL, just think of how many people will pay to see them sing on screen!' The answer: not that many, considering the movie FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY opened in the box office at 11th place with only $2.7 million dollars grossed of it's $12 million dollar budget; compared to the $62 million gross THE HULK did the same weekend. And it wasn't that FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY wasn't showing at limited theaters (it opened on 2,001 screens). But then the executives at Fox should have realized that people didn't pay to watch AMERICAN IDOL (except paying for their time). And people sure as hell weren't going to spend both their time and money watching this film. And the only reason why people love AMERICAN IDOL(at least from what people have been telling me) is because of cynical judge Simon Cowell's comments. However Simon wasn't nowhere to be found in this movie, which is a shame because he was badly needed.
The "plot" of FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY is about Justin (Justing Guarini) (you can tell that the scriptwriter didn't want to confuse Justin by giving him a different name) and his two buddies Brandon (Greg Siff) and Eddie (Brian Dietzen) go to Ft. Laurderdale for spring break. While they are there, on the girl specturm Kelly (Kelly Clarkson) with friends Alexa (Katherine Bailess) and Kaya (Anika Noni Rose)are also there. Justin is at Ft. Laurderdale to have fun, Brandon is there to make some money from holding several parties where you have to pay to get in (which I know many people wouldn't pay for a party, even me), and Eddie is looking for the girl he was talking to on a chat page over the internet. Kelly, Alexa, and Kaya are there just to, well... have fun, because that what girls just wanna have! (sorry for the pun).
The film from there goes in all sorts of mixed up and bad directions. Justin runs away from a small mob of girls while handing out tickets to one of Brandon's "keeger blasters", and a intelligent person would hide in a intelligent place, but nope, not Justin. Where does Justin run to hide? The women's restroom! Justin is running away from a group of girls, and he runs into the women's restroom, make sense? No. And that is where this movie is pretty much heading to with logic, none. While in the restroom, Justin meets Kelly and they have a "connection." So in our modern times with our advanced technology, instead of inviting Kelly to Brandon's party, they exchange cell phone numbers.
While this happens, Brandon keeps running into trouble getting caught by a Officer Culter (Theres San-Nicholas), and winds up paying a fine to the officer, ruining Brandon's chance of making any money at his spring break. Awwwwwww! There is one hysterical scene when Brandon is "running" away from Officer Culter, and I use running with quotes because he appears to be more power-walking than running. And to makes matter worse, since Brandon isn't running that fast, he still knocks over a person carryig a big load of something. Stupid Brandon.
Then nerdy Eddie, is still looking for this "chat room" girl as he tries to look more macho, by getting a tan. Being that this guy can do many other things that is more advanced than getting a tan, yet Eddie still screws up and gets a sunburn, leading up to many silly sunburn jokes that are yet to come.
For the girls side, Alexa, being the prettiest girl of the three (her, Kelly, and Kaya) she becomes the backstabber. She gets a hold of Justin's cell phone number and sends him text messages having Justin think they are from Kelly. And being the minipulator of the three. While Kaya meets and falls in love with Carlos (Jason Yribar) a Latin waiter at the resort everybody is visiting. On Kaya's and Carlos' first date, Carlos takes Kaya to a Latin club were people do salsa or tango dancing. Kaya doesn't know how to tango, yet alone claims to have never seen it before, so Carols shows her. Then both Carlos and Kaya try it together. And with the sprinkle of cinema "pixie" dust, Kaya becomes a fantastic tango dancer in less than a minute!
While the audience gets to view Eddie pealing off his nose guard off of his sunburned body for laughs. A knock is comming from the door, and in comes bodybuilt Greg (Justin Gorence) who thinks that Eddie is the "dude" that is taking his woman away from him. Which woman? The internet chat girl? We are never fully explained on who this woman is. Is it the internet chat girl? And if it is, how does Greg know who Eddie is, what he looks like, and the room he's staying in? This logic doesn't make sense, just like the rest of this movie.
The film then goes into Justin and Kelly trying to fall in love, Alexa backstabbing both Justin and Kelly, Kaya and Carols, greedy Brandon making money from the several parties he trows and then only paying "fines" to Officer Cutler, and Eddie talking to Greg on being more "sensitive" to a woman, eventhough Eddie is explained eariler in the film has never having a girlfriend. How the hell does Eddie know so much about women, giving advice to buffed up Greg on women?
The plot crisis comes into the film when Alexa contacts Kelly's ex-boyfriend Luke (Christopher Bryan) from Texas, fooling Luke that Kelly is still in love with him and wants to see him. So Luke on a whim, travels hundreds of miles just because Alexa, (not Kelly) said that Kelly wants to see him. Geeze, this guy must be a dull pencil, not even checking with Kelly first, before traveling hundreds of miles from Texas over to Ft. Laurderdale just to see Kelly. This developes the conflict for both Justin and Kelly. Luke is pissed when he sees Justin and Kelly "getting close" and instead of kicking Justin's ass, they decide to do a competition, like a joust, and the winner gets to have Kelly, what thespian morons!
Instead of doing something dangerous like drag racing, playing chicken, swimming a ocean full of sharks or some sort of "macho" competition that has been done in the the beach pictures of the 60's, these guys are too much of sissies to do any of those competitions. Instead these guys go on small hovercrafts, with a basket in each craft, and trow basketballs into each other's basket. This competion sounds more like a sport on one of those Fox network reality game shows, or on ABC's "Battle of The Network Stars" instead of appearing on film. This is such a retarded way of winning a girl's heart. So both Justin and Luke go on their hovercrafts and throw balls in each other's basket. That sounds pretty gross the way I put that into words.
Anyways, the camera keeps cutting to close ups of reactions from a preteen girl in the crowd. I would say this girl must be the producer's niece, but that saying has become such a cliche. So I'm going to be original and say it's the director's wife's daugheter, or the director's step daughter. Then when Luke loses control of his craft and falls into the ocean, the picture cuts to a close up of this young girl's face with a shocked expression, not Kelly, or Alexa, or Kaya, but this young girl. This is pretty annyoing considering this girl hasn't been seen in the movie eariler, she has nothing to do with the "plot," yet she gets a couple of close-ups. I'm guessing the director's girlfriend/wife is pleased having her daughter appear in several unnecessary close-up shots. At least someone is happy from this film.
After Luke loses the competition, Kelly then tells Luke that their relationship is over and she just wants to be friends. In the movie world a character like Luke accepts his losses and leaves town and this movie. In the real world, a man would make a scene, throw punches at pretty boy Justin, then work is tail off so he can win back Kelly's heart. If you think about it, this doesn't make any sense. A person who's driven hundreds of miles, to get to his destination by the next day, so he must have driven all night, and he just quickly agrees to drive back home after making a complete ass out of himself in front of a big crowd and gets rejected by Kelly, again, and accepts it! Ah, only in Hollywood!
Then when Alexa pulls too many minipulating pranks on the two, having Kelly planning on leaving Ft. Laurderdale because Justin used her. Alexa has a quick change of heart, hears about this and comes forward to confesses on what she did by trying have Justin and Kelly not "click" and steal Justin for herself. It turns out that Kelly didn't leave for the airport afterall, it was a set up betwen Kelly and Kaya exposing Alexa's intentions. Then to make matters worse, both Kelly and Kaya forgive Alexa and they all hug. Huh? This is stupid! In any ordinary movie, and even in reality, Kelly and Kaya would do something to get even with Alexa for what she did. And make Alexa's experience some kind of emotional pain. But not this movie, no, all is forgiven and everybody is happy.
Then comes the big finale in the end where everybody gets to sing and dance! Whoops! I forgot to mention that this film is a musical. So during the emotional scenes of this film, the characters sing a tune! It's the classic routine given in any musical (even the Disney films) where the character's can't explain how they feel, so they are going to sing a song about how they feel instead.
And the finale comes up with Kaya and Carlos being in love. Eddie finally meeting up with his "chat girl" and they are now a pair. Brandon gets a tap on his shoulder and it's Officer Cutler, except this time... WOW! She's not wearing her officer-beach uniform instead she's wearing a bikni and a beach skirt covering up her bottom half. This is the cliche that has a charcter get out of uniform and have them wear a sexy outfit, and by doing this the character becomes sexy. Alexa, well, since she loves boys so much she gets to have the multiple male dancers who were dancing in the background during the music scenes. And of course, Justin and Kelly dance together making everybody in the film happy and the people in the audience groaning in pain.
This movie was said to be a "homage" to the Frankie and Anette beach movies of the 60's (like BEACH BLANKET BINGO). Yet when the press asked both Kelly and Justin if this film was in the style of the Frankie and Anette beach films, both Justin and Kelly's answers were, "Frankie and Anette, who?" There's a bad sign. Then people said that this is suppose to be a "family film." O.K. I can't remember the last time a family film had "kegger" parites and even a wet t-shirt contest. Oh yea, I can remember the one Disney channel family film that had a wet t-shirt contest at the family picnic (there hasn't been a Disney film like that, I'm doing my Homer Simpsons ironic mood). So who was this movie made for?
Well it's too juvinle for adults and too "mature" for kids. So to put it in simple terms, this movie was made for... NO ONE!!! Well, not true. Watching this movie, I haven't seen a unintentional funny movie like this since last year's ROLLERBALL. So, this movie is made for the college crowd (my crowd) who sits together during a party, put this movie on the telly and laugh at it. You can even play "party games" with this movie like taking a drink shots everytime a stupid line is said (if you do this, you'll be drunk ten minutes into the film), or spotting the continuity errors (how many can you spot?) A example of the horrible continuity errors occurs when Kelly, all decked out in her "hot" clothes similar to scene in GREASE when Danny sees Sandy wearing tight leather pants for the first time, this shocks Justin and Justin falls backwards into the swimming pool. Justin gets out of the pool and his carmel flavor jerry-curl hair is wet. Then the next cut shows Justin's hair compeltely dry! This is the obvious error I spotted, I didn't have time to catch any others.
Another hysterical element is the outfits these people wear. Justin in one scene is wearing a t-shirt that just has the word "LOVE" across his chest. The next scene shows Justin wearing a jacket with "SECURITY" on the back. Ha! Ha! Ha! The clothes these people wear are the fashion "don't" in the female fashion magazines. They are trying to look cool and hip, yet in the real world, if anybody wore clothes like these chracters, they would either be crammed into a locker or shoven into a garbage can.
Then there is the choreography, which is god awful. I do enjoy a good dance on the screen, Fred Astire and Gene Kelly were the masters, Bob Fosse's work of SWEET CHARITY, ALL THAT JAZZ, and CHICAGO is very entertaining. Yet with this film, the dancing consists more of people shaking their hips and bopping up and down,that's it! It the same kind of dancing you see idiots dance to in the nightclubs, the bopping up and down, except for the scene where Carlos and Kaya do some tango dancing, when it looks more like the Lambada.
Another bad element is the songs, they're terrible! Excpet for K.C. & the Sunshine Band's 70's hit "That The Way I Like It," yet when Justin and Kelly sing it, it sounds bad. Since Justin and Kelly are the pop stars of this film, they get to sing most of the songs, even some as a duet. It's funny, because when Kelly is crying to Alexa and Kaya she tells them that her and Justin shared a "moment" together. And this "moment" was singing a duet together. After watching this film, I tried that same technique. I approached some cute girls and tried singing a song to them and trying to encourage them to join in with me. They instead asked what I was doing, and I said I wanted us to have a "moment" together. I instead get a strange reaction from the girls and they walk away laughing. Oh yea, I forgot to metion that since Kelly and Justing are the American Idols, they got to sing every song on the soundtrack. What's bad is that other character's get to sing as well. It's just that the only singings voices recorded were Justin and Kelly's. So when a guy sings, he sounds like Justin, and when a girl sings, she sounds like Kelly. There you go.
When I watched this film at the discount theater (it left the regular theaters so quickly that it was playing at the cheepies three weeks after it opened), during the third reel, the picture jumped and the only thing that the viewer could see was the actor's from the neck down. And sad to say (on the film's part) it made the film better! It even made a bad scene into a hysterical scene. As Alexa is picking up on Justin, he turns down her offer and leaves the place. Alexa then shouts out to Justin, "what does Kelly have that I don't have!?!?!" As Alexa was shouting to Justin, the only thing showing on the screen was Alexa's breasts, making this scene into the highlight this film experience.
I told people that there were two things should have been added to this film, that could have made it somewhat enjoyable. One is having Simon Callow on the bottom left corner of the screen making comments about this film. I was hoping for this to be a "extra" on the DVD, with Simon doing a audio commentary while watching this film, but checking the special features on the DVD, (which comes out in two weeks already), Simon does not to a commentarry on the disc. Darn! The other thing that would have made this movie a little better is having Keith sing in this movie. I only know about Keith because I watched a bit of the special of AMERICAN IDOLS worst singers. Keith, if you haven't watched his audition, was the dude who sang Madonna's "Like A Virgin" with a nasal voice that was very off key. He was said by Simon to be the "worst singer in the world." Well, being that how bad this movie was, had Keith sang in this film, it would have given the audience the idea that this movie is a satire and it would have been a great spoof like Paul Verhoven's SHOWGIRLS.
But nope, this film is trying to be serious. But I should have guessed on the quality of this film when I take a look at the film's the director and screenwriter have previously done. First there's director Robert Iscore who's previous films were the awful BOYS & GIRLS, SHE'S ALL THAT and the little known FIRESTARTER 2. So you can see that Iscore really hasn't done any film that is considered art. Then there's screenwriter Kim Fuller, who's writing credits include SPICE WORLD. Oh man, SPICE WORLD was a horrible horrible horrible film! Like FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY, that was a film making a "quick buck" on a trend, which was at the time the Spice Girls. And as you can see, five years later, the Spice Girls aren't seen that much anymore, except for Victoria Adams, because she's married to super-athlete Jason Beckham.
Right now, a lot of people are giving GIGLI crap because it's the latest bad movie to have been released. Which takes a load off of FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY, because people are now picking on the new kid in town. While star Ben Affleck is also making fun of GIGLI, I think it's more sad to see Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guerini stick up and defend FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY and say it's a good movie. And people say that Ben Affleck doesn't know any talent. But if you watched both GIGLI and FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY back to back (which I'm sure you won't but I'm just speaking rethorical) you can see that GIGLI isn't that bad and FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY is much worse. At least GIGLI had a o.k. performance by Ben Affleck and cameos from Christopher Walken and Al Pacino. FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY has a entire film full of nobodys.
What amazes me is that when I sat through the ending credits I counted 377 people who worked on this film. Didn't somebody have enough courage or guts to tell the director that the film they were making was a piece of crap? I know I would have, and I would have rather been fired from the film, than to have FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY on my career resume. $12 million dollars went into the horrible film, couldn't Fox do something good with the money and give it to some charity or homeless shelter that needs the money and instead of Fox investing their mula into this bad film? I guess not, I don't think Hollywood takes kindly to the unfortunate.
Is FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY bad? You bet! However, like BATTLEFIELD EARTH and ROLLERBALL it's one of those films that it so bad that it can be funny. While other bad movies are bad that they can never be funny and wind up just being annoying. So you could either rent this movie or if you want to save a few bucks (which I don't blame you) wait for this movie to appear on one of the pay cable channels, sit with a group of friends and point and laugh at this movie while it's playing. That is pretty much the only fun one is going to get from watching this film.
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