Reporter's log: Cannes 2008

Saturday 17 May 2008

Back in 2001, soul superstar Mariah Carey had a bit of a funny turn in the wake of releasing her box office flop Glitter - a film which put the word corny into, erm... popcorny. "Carey can act after a fashion, though dialogue gives her trouble," noted TV Guide magazine in the US.
Well, despite that setback, the singer has ventured back onto the silver screen in a movie called Tennessee and, with a low-key Cannes premiere last night, there was really no other option for our evening's entertainment.
Tennessee is a good old-fashioned road movie, where travelling along an actual highway is a metaphor for making progress along your personal journey of life. Mariah plays a waitress who - would you believe it? - wants to break into music. She gets picked up by the film's heroes and accompanies them to Nashville, where they hope to find their estranged father.
Amazingly, Mariah is the best thing in it. Her understated, downbeat performance is so natural that pretty soon you stop wondering whether Busta Rhymes will pop up for a guest rap. And for someone famed as an image-obsessed diva, Carey has no problem playing a character who dresses down in dowdy clothes with greasy, toussled hair. She even carries a little extra weight compared to her normal svelte image.
Carey is so good, in fact, that the film feels rather flat when she's off-screen. The denouement, which is presumably supposed to be a heart-rending tear-jerker, kind of passed me by. Maybe we wrote Carey's film career off too soon?

(BBC News)

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