From Justin to Kelly

After conquering television ratings and the music charts (saleswise), it was inevitable that the phenomenon known as American Idol would expand it's empire and try to take on movies. Well, From Justin to Kelly, featuring winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini (he of the white afro), is every bit as manufactured as the show it came from. In the strangest move, the movie takes what was a genuine television smash hit and repackages it for small girls. It is doubtful that any other demographic would find this cheesy romantic comedy that combines music and choreography interesting for very long. Yes, this is a profitable group, but think of all the money the studio is missing because they made such a lame movie. One possible aspect is that it requires little acting from Clarkson and Guarini, who, as actors, aren't that great. When Clarkson (Issues 101) and Guarini are playing characters named Kelly and Justin, it's a sign that the movie is more interested in them as celebrities than actors.

From Justin to Kelly finds the two in Miami, for the tamest spring break in history (hey, this is PG after all). Kelly is a hardworking Texas waitress who reluctantly accompanies her friends Kaya (Anika Noni Rose) and Alexa (Katherine Baliess, Bring It On, The Bootlegger), who want to have a great time. Justin is there with party hard friend Brandon (Greg Siff, Boychick, In & Out) and nerdy Eddie (Brian Dietzen) who is looking for a girl he met on the Internet. Justin and Kelly meet and are instantly attracted to each other, but things keep happening to keep them apart. For the most part, it's Alexa, who is scheming to get Justin to go after her. The story is utterly ridiculous, yet still keeps going on and on, although everybody knows what is going to happen. Screenwriter Kim Fuller (High Heels and Low Lifes, Spice World) knows this to. She if aware that people want to see Clarkson and Guarini sing, and leaves ample opportunity for them to sing and dance.

It's completely brainless, and unfortunately, not that fun. Director Robert Iscove (Boys and Girls, She's All That) has actually taken a large step backward from his previous work, if that's possible. Aside from the choreography, there is nothing of significance happening on screen. All of Clarkson and Guarini's lines are short and simple, as if to keep audiences from seeing if they can laugh. The songs (that aren't remakes) are as bland and lifeless as anything on pop radio. This film won't hurt their burgeoning careers, but probably won't do anything to help it. The title is the strangest element of all. Usually, the phrase "from A to Z" denotes a wide range of something. From Justin to Kelly is, well, uh one letter. What a fitting title.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 21 minutes, Rated PG for thematic elements, sensuality, and brief language.

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