As a singer, Mariah Carey belts out bland, vacuous dance-pop music, frequently favoring vocal histrionics over any sense of substance. Glitter is her first chance at a starring role (she appeared in The Bachelor), and it appears that her taste in movies is similar to her taste in music. Glitter is nothing more than a vanity project, a tired and simple rags-to-riches story utterly mindless and overtold. The rise to stardom of Billie Franklin, the main character, somewhat mirrors her rapid ascent into the pop world. It also gives her a chance to release a new album full of music from the film, more soulless songs where she can use her impressive vocal range.

In her childhood, Billie, who already had a great voice, lived with an alcoholic mother who also sang. Because of her mother's condition, she eventually left Billie, and she moved into an orphanage with other children. Cut to 1983. Billie and her friends Roxeanne (Tia Texada, Bait, Nurse Betty) and Louise (Da Brat, Carmen: A Hip Hopera, Rhyme & Reason) are singing backup for another aspiring star. Dice (Max Beesley, It Was an Accident, The Match), a local DJ, notices that Billie is the one with the talent and immediately sets out to produce and woo her. Not surprisingly, the two fall in love and Billie's song is an immediate hit. The next hurdle is to record a full album. Billie relies on Dice to guide her as she rises further into the spotlight. The record label wants to dress Billie in skimpy clothes and have her use other produces, something that Dice opposes. Inevitably, things come to a breaking point, but then again, everybody saw that coming. The story is akin to something a nine-year old girl would dream up as her fantasy (aside from some of the plot developments).

The world of Glitter does resemble the early 80s. Direction by Vondie Curtis-Hall (Gridlock'd) is able but not spectacular. Glitter falters immensely because of the acting, and the script by Kate Lanier (The Mod Squad, Set It Off) based on a story by Cheryl L. West (Holiday Heart, Play On!). This is nothing more than a sappy fable, devoid of logic and reason and replete with shallow idiots. Dice has little to no sense of business acumen, especially for somebody who should. He is a well-known DJ, and apparently has enough savvy to get a contract for Billie. It is more believable that Billie is naive about the entire process, since this is her first outing into the cutthroat world of the music industry. The prerequisite rise and falls are all there, and there are no spontaneous or original moments in the entire script.

Carey is not an actor. Her strength lies in her singing voice (notice no mention made of her songs, just her voice). Having such a high profile in a film with little acting experience is usually not a good thing, and it certainly is bad here. The least she could do is go the route of Jewel, who took a smaller role in Ride With the Devil, a movie that had much more quality. Jewel's performance was debatable, but at least it was a performance. Carey just smiles demurely and sings and sometimes shouts. Surprisingly, she does a pretty good job given the hollowness of the script and the awful performance of Beesley. Admittedly, this is mostly the fault of the script, but he doesn't help things at all. Dice is a simpleton, who has to follow the lame mechanics of the script or else there would be no story. He gets overprotective and jealous, and cannot tell the difference between his love for Billie and his desire to see her succeed. Overall, Glitter has the depth of a music video. Unfortunately, this video lasts about an hour and a half.

Haro Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated PG-13 for some sensuality, language, and brief violence.

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