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[whitespace] 'Glitter' Songbird: Mariah Carey as Billie Frank, superstar.


It's Not Gold

Mariah Carey film debut definitely doesn't 'Glitter'

By Richard von Busack

AS A SINGER of the kind of music once described as "rhythm and bleach," Mariah Carey's Bambi eyes and kneecaplike face reflect her smooth, featureless work. As an actress, she's what computer animators call a Synthespian. There's a scene in Glitter in which Carey sniffs a rose, and the rose outacts her.

While Carey's career wasn't hurt in real life by marriage to the head of a record company, this is a story--plainly not hers--about "Billie Franks," a struggling young vocalist whose hard-drinking, indigent mother leaves her in an orphanage. Later, at a disco, she's picked up by a hot young producer, "Dice" (Max Beesley), who becomes her lover and manager. In Billie's rush to stardom, Dice is left behind, so he takes consolation in drinking: A Star Is Born Again. Ann Magnuson, a more interesting though lesser-known musician than Carey, plays a chattering publicist.

The best line comes from a Euro-trash video director trying to get Billie's clothes off for a shoot: "We ask ourselves, what is she? Is she black? Is she white? She's exotic. I want to see more of her breasts." Director Vondie Curtis-Hall obliges; Glitter is more of a mammogram than a movie. There's something even more fascinating than Carey's boobs here, though: two separate shots of the by-now censored image of the World Trade Center during Curtis-Hall's frequent montages of the New York skyline. As for the rest, it's no Mahogany, though it's often uproarious. The ending, in which Carey endures tragedy and a reunion with her long-lost mom, guarantees that there'll be more snickers in the theater than just the ones sold at the candy counter.


Glitter (PG-13; TK min.); directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall, written by Cheryl West and starring Mariah Carey, Eric Benet, Kyle Thrash and Max Beesley, opens Friday at the selected theaters valleywide.

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From the September 27-October 3, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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