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July 30, 2001 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-07-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 30, 2001
ยง 4 .3ARTS
*NSYNC shows that 'Celebrity'
could be muchmuch worse

Celebrity *NSYNC; Jive Records
By Japiya Burns
Daily Arts Writer
Curiously, pop musicians tend to
,use to fame on the merits of songs
portraying everyday life and love -
yet once they arrive, they can't resist
bemoaning the terrible curse of their
"Celebrity." Usually this turns out to
be a self-indulgent nightmare, which
never fails to arouse our indifference.
After all, how bad can we really feel
for multi-millionaires? Think:
Michael Jackson's "Scream," Madon-
na's "Human Nature," or, most
recently, the terribly unfortunate
(though thankfully UK-only) "Heaven
and Hell (To be Geri Halliwell)."
Failed attempts at creating credi-
'bility with this hackneyed "perils of
fame" schtick aside, *NSYNC man-
ages to make things at least danceable
and pleasant in their latest outing,
The lead single, "Pop," reveals
their anxieties about being swept into
the dustbin along with uncountable
other boy-bands once the latest teen-
pop fad has ended. Despite the slick
packaging of danceable beats, cour-

tesy of producers BT, and a radio-
friendly chorus ("This music gets you
high/it takes you on a ride/you feel it
when your body starts to rock,") they
can't help but remind you of mad pug
dogs - they get so cute when they're
angry and self-righteous!
After the title track, though,
"Celebrity" is thankfully not all about
fame; it's the now-familiar territory of
love and schlocky lyrics ("girl you
should be my girlfriend" on "Girl-
friend") over danceable beats, with a
few ballads thrown in for good meas-
ure and guaranteed soft-rock airplay. I
can see the girls swooning right now
to "Selfish" and "Something Like
You," thankfully near the end of the
album for maximum avoidability, but
still entirely more tolerable than pre-
vious outings like "This I Promise
Sure, they've grown edgier than
their peers. Production by the afore-
mentioned BT, (Rodney Jerkins and
Riprock), gives us more skitterish
beats plus varied vocal effects and
arrangements, in the hopes of garner-
ing street credibility. But who're they
really fooling? They might be bring-
ing some harder beats and electro
blips, but they're not breaking any
new ground. There's also more of the

self-righteous indignance (a la Des-
tiny's Child) we saw on "Bye Bye
Bye," but this album is exactly what
you'd expect. That's what's so great
about it. No one feels badly about
watching a cheap thrill of a movie
like "Scary Movie 2," which is
designed for maximum pleasure but
scarce on artistic value. So why
shouldn't you allow yourself to enjoy
something like *Nsync, with dance-
able beats, corny lyrics and hopeful
lovelorn optimism - all done with
style and flair.
Grade: B+

courtesy of Columbia Pictures
They are John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones. They are America's Sweethearts.
fail1 to win hearts

Courtesy of ive Records

Listeners are happy to be stuck
with latest Huey Lewis release

Plan B, Huey Lewis and the News;
Silvertone Records
By Michael Osinald
Daily Arts Writer
With their first album in seven
years, Huey Lewis & The News
show they know the heart of rock &
roll is in the blues.
Lewis sings his influences in
"Thank You #19," referencing Mar-
vin Gaye, Sly Stone and Sam And
Dave. It sounds like the band put
their heart and soul into this collec-
tion of rhythm and blues - the
lyrics seem quite personal, and pret-
ty much every song shows the heart-

breaking power of love. If Huey did
it all for his baby and this is the
inspiration he got, you have to won-
der if he still believes in love. Of
course, they don't call it the blues
for nothing.
Musically, the songs are pretty
good. I've got to say that's it's
alright, but let's face it: It's been
seven years. That's plenty of time to
write some songs with more popular
appeal. The first single, "Let Her Go
And Start Over," is good, but you
will probably not hear it on the
radio. The songs lack the pop power
of his famous hits like "I Want A
New Drug."

Also enjoyable were "My Other
Woman," and the album's namesake
song, "Plan B." The rest of the CD
hovers around decent.
I guess it's hip to be square, but
the band will have a tough time
climbing the charts and repeating
their commercial success of the mid-
80s. Of course, it's a different time
now. Maybe Huey wants to be popu-
lar, but I for one don't want to hear
him sing songs like "Ride Wit Me."
Anyway, the songs here are good;
they just don't have mass appeal.
Bottom line: I'm just your average
guy working for a living, and I can
say I've wasted the cost of a CD on
things worse than this. I'm happy to
be stuck with it.
Grade: B

By Mandy Taylor
Daily Arts Writer
This romantic comedy begins in
the style of melodramatic movie
trailers, setting a theme that runs
through the whole film - poking
fun at the movie industry itself.
Gwen and
Eddie (Cather-
ine Zeta-Jones
America's and John
Sweeteart Cusack) were a
legendary, wide-
Grade: C+ ly-adored Holly-
AtShowcase wood couple
and Quality 16 who made mul-
tiple romantic
'\ films together,
>; 3 such as
"Requiem for an
Outfielder." The
couple has since split up, but to pro-
mote their last film together, publi-
cist Lee Phillips (Billy Crystal) must
trick the public into believing the
two are back together. The illusion is
necessary because the director, Hal
Weidman (Christopher Walken,
looking even more demented than
usual), refuses to hand over the
movie until the actual premier, so
there will be nothing to actually
review at the press junket. The excit-
ing news of Eddie and Gwen's rec-
onciliation is supposed to provide
enough distraction to cover up the
fact that the movie is missing.
Complicating the plot are the
restraining order that Gwen has
against Eddie, Gwen's new lover
Hector (Hank Azaria), and the
romantic feelings that Gwen's per-
sonal assistant Kiki (Julia Roberts)
has for Eddie. "America's Sweet-
hearts" is filled with scandals,
betrayals and many selfish charac-
ters - just like the film industry
Other blurbs about the movie pro-
claim Kiki as being awkward, but
she's not; she's simply Roberts,
more charming and attractive than
ever. The difference here is that
she's de-glamorized, and therefore
the most human character in the
whole story, especially with the help

of flashbacks to when she was sixty
pounds heavier (just slightly heavier
than the average woman). Makeup
artists created a semi-convincing
appearance for the overweight Kiki,
though director Joe Roth a>
screenwriter Crystal overdo it a bit
when they focus so much whether
Kiki is eating or not eating.
Zeta-Jones is impressively self-
centered through some of the movie,
though in the beginning the actress
does not seem to have a grasp on her
role. Cusack is good, achieving
occasional emotional extremes, as
his character suffers from some
mental instability. Crystal makes use
of his standard style of humor, off
ing funny one-liners, though some-
times the jokes he wrote for himself
are lifeless. Azaria is portrayed as a
rather unpleasant Spanish
bully/heartthrob/man-slut with a
heavy, awkward accent and a selec-
tive lisp. His character was not cre-
ated to be a sympathetic one, but he
certainly adds some color and con-
flict to the plot.
The movie is entertaining, and t'
actors and actresses are nice to look
at (there are lots of leather pants
worn). It may have a particular draw
for the local crowd, as Ann Arbor is
mentioned more than once (admit-
tedly, the second reference deals
with Ted Kaczynski).
The romantic elements justify
themselves and are satisfying. The
general plot follows a typical style
for romance, so it is fueled by loin
ing on the part of Eddie and Ki
though not always reciprocally.
Once the right people come
together, the ending is-abrupt. The
characterization of many people
highlights the dehumanizing aspects
of the film industry through over-
exaggeration (for instance, a pro-
ducer contemplates an actor's
suicide as a possible moneymakir
scheme). The film does not, how
er, call into question the fact that a
standard Hollywood romance film
must end when the true romance
begins. The happy ending is just
that; when the characters are happy,
the credits must roll.

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