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Cinematic Hell: From Justin to Kelly (2003)
From Justin to Kelly is one of those movies that does everything absolutely 100% wrong. And the strange thing is, I think everyone from the cast to the director knew that this movie was complete lame ass garbage. The only people who seemed determined and excited about this movie were the producers. They wanted to cash in on the somewhat early success of American Idol's first season. Simon Fuller (producer and brother to screenwriter Kim Fuller) used Kelly Clarkson's and Justin Guarini's contracts to American Idol against them just so they could be in this movie. However Mr. Fuller's efforts didn't produce a hit whether we are talking critically or financially. The film had a budget of 12 Million Bucks and only made back 4.9 Million at the box office. So few people saw or remembered this movie that 29 days after it's release in theaters it went straight to DVD and VHS. Yeah so contractual blackmail wasted on a movie that only 120 people went to see. So Simon Fuller... was it worth it? Now I am going to tell you guys what this waste of celluloid is about, but let me just say... be prepared for the biggest "who cares" plot synopsis of all time. Well let's get into this "Tale of two American Idols" (I thought only one of them won?) here is From Justin to Kelly.
Justin and Kelly play.... Justin and Kelly (how meta huh?). They are two teenagers... or adults.. the movie never explains who they or any of the other characters actually are. Kelly and her two friends go to Miami for Spring Break while Justin and his friends also go to Miami (what a contrived and stupid coincidence!). Once Justin and Kelly meet for the first time (in one of the most hilarious musical sequences of all time) an instant "connection" is formed between them. However Justin loses Kelly's phone number and we come to another interesting contrivance when one of Kelly's friends gives Justin her number so she could steal Justin from Kelly. Yeah... that's the whole main plot of this movie. The entire movie focuses on one huge misunderstanding after another. Even though this movie has a lot of other subplots involving Justin's and Kelly's friends and they're almost just as stupid as the main plot, maybe this whole story would be bearable if we even gave a crap about any of the characters. Sorry to report this but every character is a cliché and/or tool to the stupid "who cares about this misunderstanding" plot. Justin is a party animal with "a heart of gold", Brandon is a man whore, Eddie is a nerd, Kelly is whoever the script wants her to be at the moment, Alexa is a conniving and evil person for really no reason and Kaya is a Disney Princess in human form (strange thing Kaya is played by Anika Noni Rose AKA Princess Tiana).
The main reason the movie's main plot just doesn't work is because the two love interests... don't seem that interested. Whenever Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini share a romantic moment they not only show no on screen chemistry but they also look very uncomfortable. It's not only the fact that neither of them can't act, but also because the script pretty much forces these two characters together when there's no reason for them to be in a relationship. These two feel more like friends or brother and sister.
Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini get a lot flack for their bad acting in this movie and while that's warranted, people forget that nobody in the cast comes off good at all. The only person who comes off okay in this movie is Anika Noni Rose and even she can't save this movie from some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard. It's not like Gigli where the lines are quotable, you pretty much have to watch reviews or watch some scenes in this movie to know what I'm talking about. So I'll just put it like this: imagine a 35 year old trying to fit in with teenagers and trying so hard to be hip that's it painful. Fun fact, Kim Fuller is also the same screenwriter who did work on the Spice Girls fiasco "Spice World". Yeah things are starting to make sense now aren't they?
I forgot to mention that From Justin to Kelly is actually a musical. If there's one thing worse than the idiotic plot we have to watch, it's the musical numbers. These songs are so bad that the soundtrack for this movie has never been released. At best the songs are generic and at worst you'll be begging for Cher Lloyd's music. The only time the songs are bearable is when Kelly or Justin do what they do best and belt them like crazy. It's almost like with Mariah Carey in Glitter, yeah the songs are terrible but at least you have a nice voice to sing those bad songs.
Believe it or not, I kind of recommend "From Justin to Kelly". No I haven't lost my mind, just hear me out. "From Justin to Kelly" is not only one of the worst musicals ever but it's also one of the worst movies in existence. The acting is painful, the dialogue witless, the story beyond boring and all of the characters are just clichés all around. However... this movie is truly hilarious! I haven't laughed so hard since my first viewing of Showgirls. Yes, "From Justin to Kelly" is one of those so bad-it's good movies. It really is like laughing an adult trying so hard to be hip and think he knows how to make teens and young adults tick. The dancing in these musical numbers is beyond funny. It really does look like the extras and even sometimes the main cast have no idea what the hell they're doing when they have to dance in a musical number. The ridiculous dialogue and amateur acting are also fun to watch because again we have producers thinking they know what they're doing when in reality they have fallen flat on their faces faster than Sara Palin's dignity. So yes in a strange way, I do recommend seeing this movie. Just like with The Room or Showgirls, it has to be seen to be believed. Final score: 3/10.