Set during that vison from Hieronymous Bosch known as spring break in Fort Lauderdale,this is a return to the Annette Funicello-Frankie Avalon beach movies of the 60’s, right down tothe PG rating. People stopped making those movies for good reasons, but that didn’t stop theproducers of this effort. Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, playing characters with their ownfirst names (groan) meet, fall in love, but have their romance undermined by Clarkson’s blondbitch of a…friend. (Her conniving, incidentally, involves the manipulation of cell phone textmessages, and now you understand the title of the movie.) Along the way, we get a bunch ofMOR songs. This is too thoroughly mediocre to achieve the heights of sublime badness of, say,The Swarm, but it is pretty bad. It also seems rather cruel to have taken Clarkson andGuarini, who, to their credit, do actually look like real human beings, and surrounded them withhundreds and hundreds of impossibly perfect physical specimens.
The dialogue has some ongoing issues with minor distortion, but everything clears up for thesongs. During the music, however, something odd happens, in that the vocals have a tendency todevelop surround characteristics, in ways that don’t always seem appropriate. Still, the musicsounds big enough. The effects are okay, generating a certain degree of environment, but theycould be pumped up.
The film comes in both fullscreen and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen versions (one on eachside of the disc). The colours are good, with nice contrasts, and the blue Florida sky looks mostimpressive. The skin tones struck me as a bit off, veering slightly into the artificial. The blacksare solid, and generally this is a perfectly acceptable transfer.
Just in case the original’s 81 minutes weren’t enough for you, you can also watch anextended version of the movie, with two extra songs (“Brighter Star” and “With Love From Meto You”). The commentary by Clarkson, Guarini and director Robert Iscove isn’t too bad whenIscove is talking about the various technical difficulties they ran into, but his cohorts have tend topronounce things as “cool” too often. The “Video Scrapbook” is just a promo featurette, and theother two pieces (“Center Stage” interviews with our two stars and “Singers Who Dance…Dancers Who Sing” — a look at the choreography) are little more than puff pieces too. There’salso a one-minute gag reel. The widescreen side only has commentary, while all the features areon the fullscreen side. The menu’s introduction and movie option page are animated and scored,while the main page itself is scored.
First theatres, now DVD. Next stop, the remainder bin and relegation to pop culture trivia.Those nostalgic for the beach movie might get a kick out of this. Maybe.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- 3 Featurettes
- Gag Reel
- Extended Version