Sunday 27 September 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 46 Popstar

Boy band members have never really been high on my list of respectable people actors. Sure Justin Timberlake made the transition successfully, and has actually pulled off some decent parts here and there, but in general,no. Siblings of boy band members, themselves quasi-popstars in their own right, even less so. That's why tonight's feature really reeks of trouble. It brought my mind back to an outing with Usher that left me contemplating if it was all worth it. I decided then it was, but tonight my reality is once more turned upside down when I take a critical look at...

That would've been my raction too. If Aaron Carter was Kenny Rogers. 
Popstar (2005)

Aaron Carter. The name and his picture on the cover photo had me dreading this for a while. Most of the flicks on here, I have no prior knowledge of, right down to not knowing a single person on the cast list or anything whatsoever about the plot besides what a 5 year old could deduce from the title/cover. This one, however, I dreaded. Because, Aaron Carter. And the premise just brought a weird deja vu on. I'm not sure still what it reminds me of, besides the Usher flick (that at least made an attempt at excitement.) It's like Paris Hilton’s movies: (speaking of, she's been pleasantly absent for a while.) You know they are going to suck, not just because the movies are shit, but because even complete fucking crap can still somehow be dragged down by her performance, or lack thereof. That's what I went into watching Popstar with, and I think I wasn't disappointed? Honestly I'm not sure if this whole movie was tongue in cheek and had a laugh on its own expense, or if it was dead serious and consequently super stupid. We will have to analyze our way to the truth. Please follow me… TO THE PLOTMOBILE!

When we first see the janitor, I literally did a double take. What the fuck? No. And to just open random lockers to random kids? Seems legit. 
The premise is simple. Aaron Carter plays JD Mcsomething. Holy shit I've forgotten his name, and it's been like 20 minutes since end credits. McQueen! Right. There we are. So he's a popstar in this movie (we're thankfully only treated to two concert scenes) and after finishing up a tour, his mom, in a fairly unprecedented moment of both humor and realism, tells him he's done being home schooled, because he's failing. She is sending him to public school to earn his high school diploma. He is not pleased, because, well, who the fuck wants to go to school with the plebs, right? But mom's word is final, as we all know. So he goes. In school is Jane, JD's possibly biggest fan. JD barges into class in the middle of a test. Way to plan that first day of school. Jane sees him and is, perhaps understandably, struck dumb. We see a montage like set of scenes, where JD's shit is stolen around campus, every time he looks away. Hilarious. JD's plan is to find the smartest girl in school, and have her help him with his school stuff. Jane happens to have just gotten a perfect score on her SAT. She also wears braces, indicating that she is a geek and universally loathed around school. JD gets the janitor to open her locker for him, with the thinnest cover story of all time, and the laziest locker security in the universe, and steals one of Jane's books with her name and address in it. Because high schoolers totally do that. He shows up at her house, and invites himself in. Popstars can do it all.

He plays kindergartens and pre-schools when he's not busy doing movies. With his beach inn buddy. 
This starts a sort of weird unbalanced but easily recognizable relationship between the two. I saw “Can't buy me love” back in the 80s and this is just another faint copy. JD buys Jane a Porsche after like day 2, with the words “Maybe you can do something for me some day." I frowned at this scene, but I don't think the writers saw how crazy rapey that whole scenario was. JD merely meant she could help him with homework, but he doesn't specify, so it's kind of weird. Now Jane is super popular in school (funny how having the coolest merchandise makes everybody your friend) and the vintage hot popular girl, who has her eyes set on JD, is fired up for combat. Shit develops between JD and Jane, and after one, albeit glorious, study session, he is now ready for advanced fucking calculus, despite, only the day before, having failed home school. But easyville is some miles out yet, for the young JD, because he also has Testophobia, and instead of acing the test, he totally cheats. Jane hates cheaters, and the professor has a no second chances rule too. So JD fails and Jane fucks off. Through conceited and pointless scenes, we learn that JD is totally about Jane and legit has Testophobia. No joke. He redeems himself, and totally aces that test, that the professor grades ON THE SPOT. He hands it back to JD chuckling because not only did Jane teach JD well enough to pass the test. She taught him well enough to surpass her scores. The scores of the girl with a perfect SAT were passed by a guy who two days before failed home school.

Justin embodies every high school geek cliché. And apparently that's a magnet for types like Tara Reid London. Justin is a nice change from Aaron Carter
So there we have it. Simple stuff. I had a hard time with an objective plot walkthrough, because honestly it turned kind of stupid toward the end. It's too bad really, because there was one or perhaps two moments early on where I legit chuckled. And I thought that perhaps this movie was meta enough for the writers and actors to be in on the joke. But as we progressed through one stupid scene after another, I learned that perhaps this wasn't the case. It's relatively simplistic high school bullshit. The hot girls are very likely not high schoolers in real life, and are so stereotypical that you could set your watch by them. There is a subplot of one of them wanting to date JD to, I guess, become famous. Not unlike too many cases in real life. She is pissed at Jane, and threatens both her and JD left and right. There is even a scene where she talks to a reporter and agrees to, I think, drop her clothes in pictures with JD when she bags him for prom. It doesn't come to anything, except she storms in at the concert just before end credits, and it turns out she's wearing a water bra. A bra with water to boost her bust size in case you were confused. Another subplot has Jane freak out because JD is on the radio and the host asks him about a girl named London, that JD has a special relationship with. Jane and JD aren't even dating, and she bails on him (she was in the producer's booth for the show) without even asking him to explain. Anyway, they are patched up also without explanation, and we can move on. This movie makes more sense than a standard B100 flick, but that being said, I can't really figure out why there are plenty of loose ends included for no discernible reason. To bolster movie length to 91 minutes I suppose.

Hahahahahahahahaha... No. Nope. No.
Much like almost every high school flick, most of the cast was well above high school years. Jane, played by Alana Austin, was 25 at the time of filming. Aaron Carter, however, was 18, and probably actually in high school. That was likely fun for Alana. The movie wasn't as bad as I had expected quality wise. Kind of like Gigli and perhaps one more, the movie had a crew and equipment up to par with crappy A-list movies. The writing was pretty run of the mill, but for a B100 it was nigh on Shakespearean levels. The acting is mostly subpar, with Aaron turning in the worst performance. I mean when you can't tell if he's poking fun of himself with tongue in cheek lines, or really just thinks he's making something amazing in this movie, that says a lot. He kind of plays the two personalities thing a bit, where he's both JD, the character, and Joe McQueen the shy boy who has testophobia and fails classes in home school. It's pretty stupid, and comes off as just a failed attempt at depth. If Aaron had been better, it could've perhaps been more interesting, but with the supporting cast on top of Aaron himself this movie never really stood a chance. At least we aren't treated to a lot of super weird cuts and scenes out of place. The plot is thin but mostly coherent. The characters are shallow and predictable but not quite hateable.

Another cliché? Yes. This movie stocked up at the cliché store. Hot popular girl sure isn't going to help him pass math. 
I wasn't annoyed or angry as much as just mildly disinterested in this flick. I started it and went to the bathroom, and for a split second I actually feared I'd miss out on some plot point that might result in me not understanding what was going on. I came back to JD McQueen in concert still, and I also remembered that it was a B100 movie, and that I could watch it cut into 20 bits, shown out of order and still fully understand what was going on. The whole reason JD has to go to school is because his record label will drop his ass if he doesn't go on tour the following summer, despite him being the youngest singer ever to have 16 Billboard 100 hits and sold a bajillion albums. He just had an album out and literally just came back from a world tour. And still, they will drop him if he doesn't go on another. And his mom won't let him tour if he doesn't have a high school diploma. So that's why everything in this movie happens. To top it off, it seems his opening concert for that new tour, which is also the last scene in the movie, makes everybody hook up. He and Jane, her mom and JD's sleazy manager, the Janitor (who has been giving weird sage advice throughout the movie) and Jane's recently dumped at the altar sister. Also a tertiary character named Justin, who asked both the 'hot girls' to the prom is in the audience and asks that London character JD had as a special friend to the prom. She accepts on account of not having been to her own, despite looking like she just started high school. She has a weird Tara Reid vibe about her and I didn't know what to do with that. 

She blogs about JD! How 2005. Who the hell has a blog anymore?
The only really candid moment in the movie, that raised my doubts whether this was an inside joke all along anyway, was the final scene where Aaron Carter performs a track on stage. His audience consists almost entirely of 8-14 year old girls, reminding me, on several ways, of Justin Bieber. Bieber tries to come off as some kind of badass prankster dude, but it's really hard to take him seriously as a tough apple when you know he performs exclusively to screaming early teen girls with little hearts in their eyes. Aaron Carter, at least, got out of the game early on. Or did he?

I like how she's sort of idling in the background awkwardly. Show the world, JD. This is IT!

1 comment:

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