From Justin To Kelly (2003)
Main cast: Kelly Clarkson (Kelly), Justin Guarini (Justin), Katherine Bailess (Alexa), Anika Noni Rose (Kaya), Greg Siff (Brandon), Brian Dietzen (Eddie), Jason Yribar (Carlos), and Theresa San-Nicholas (Officer Cutler)
Director: Robert Iscove


I watch From Justin To Kelly with two friends. We are bored one afternoon and decide that watching a truly horrific movie so that we can all laugh and mock it mercilessly will be a great way to kill time. By the time the movie ends, we are all shell-shocked in horror, not at how bad this movie is but at how dull it is. The sniggers from the seller when we quickly purchased the pirated movie and flee the scene (in case somebody recognizes us) should have been warning enough.

As a calculated gimmick to lure in teenaged girls that, for some reason, like to think that Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson, respectively runner-up and winner of the first American Idol, are in love, From Justin To Kelly ends up like a third-rate low budget high school remake of an MTV Spring Break special. It tells the story of Kelly, Alex, and Kaya, three female friends, meeting up at Miami. There, they meet three guys, Justin, Brandon, and Eddie. Justin and Kelly hit it off in a groundbreaking chemistry-free relationship, but Alex, Kelly's Ho Friend, wants to cause trouble and steal Justin for herself. What happens is a lot of silly runarounds caused by teenaged idiots not listening to each other. The plot twists and turns are not just predictable, they are predictable in a "nails hammered into my brain - aaargh" way.

And then there's the way the characters are so underwritten that nowhere is it explained how a nerd, a fuzzball, and a jock can end up taking a vacation together. Ditto a sourpuss Kelly, a ho Alex, and Kaya, whose sole personality resides in the fact that she's the obligatory Character of Color. It gets worse when people start singing and dancing, because the choreography is startling in how inept it is. People dancing with towels and beach balls? Dance moves that come straight out of a toddler-performance concert? And then there's the clothes they make Clarkson wear. The dreadful cheongsam thingie is particularly wretched and blue just isn't her color, methinks.

Also striking is how asexual this movie is despite having a cast that more often than not go around showing quite a lot of flesh. It is bad enough that Guarini looks like a celery stick next to beefy shirtless guys that he has more chemistry with than with Clarkson (Kelly is written as so stuck-up and sour-faced that it will be amazing if she has chemistry with anyone at all), but we are also talking about spring break here. The movie is already so boring, it doesn't even have decent T&A to make up for it.

The only way a movie like From Justin To Kelly can work is if it cheerfully plays up the camp factor. But this movie is so serious in how it wants to steal money from clueless American Idol fangirls and their mothers, it doesn't even try to be anything more than a really boring and cheaply made movie. If it can do so, I bet it will even kick the audience out of the cinema as soon as it ends so that it can hold out its hands to collect money from the next round of gullible idiots that pay good money to see this flick.

This movie has its audience, of course. There are people on discussion boards that swear how they watched this movie every day during its tragically short run (heh) in the cinemas and now they are buying the DVD so that they can watch it some more every day after that. These are the people From Justin To Kelly is made for. And if the Clay Aiken fans are anything to go by, From Clay to Kimberley Locke will be a good idea as well - anything to get money from deluded little girls and their mothers that should know better. In this respect, it is hard to fault the makers of From Justin To Kelly - they are just shearing the sheep that are willing to be sheared. I can only hope that these sheep are outnumbered by intelligent people that know better than to fall for such shameless marketing blitz.

Rating: 45


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