Let’s start this review off a bit differently. Join me, if you will, by taking a look at “Glitter” star Mariah Carey’s IMDb listing as an actress:
You should notice pretty quickly that Mariah doesn’t have an extensive amount of experience in front of the camera. Specifically, check out where “Glitter” is on that list: it was her second-ever acting credit.
Yikes. Well, I think I’ve found your problem, “Glitter”.
Not only does Mariah Carey’s acting inexperience hurt the film on screen, but the semi-biographical nature of the flick means that she is essentially playing herself. That really messes with the film’s tone if you ask me: participating in a movie about yourself is already pretty self-indulgent, but starring as yourself in a biopic? Wow. It also doesn’t help that Mariah’s stand-in character, Billy Frank, has absolutely no flaws. Bad things happen to her, but she has no depth as a character. That, combined with the constant compliments and fawning over Frank by all characters in the film, turns the self-indulgent tone up to 11 and beyond.
The issues with this movie don’t stop at the tone issues and Mariah’s acting: most of the cast seems to be phoning it in, which is more than understandable given the scripts they were working with. Dice, the love interest in the film, is one of the most inconsistently written characters I’ve seen on screen in a good while. He flips from being shown as an openly insulting dick to being portrayed as the perfect heartthrob from scene to scene. After he is killed (spoilers), all of the dick moments and glossed over and forgotten forever. Speaking of his murder, Terrence Howard is the only watchable performer in this movie: he barely gets any screen time, but he totally sells his dingy record producer character. Usually, that means that he stalks around in the background, issuing vague threats while wearing a hat. For this movie, that is A+ work.
For the life of me, I do not understand how this movie wasn’t just made for TV. I’m guessing the budget necessities prevented that from being a possibility, but this movie honestly belongs on VH1. The quality of the writing and acting is barely passable for TV grade, and it would have been a thoroughly mediocre movie to put on between reality shows and occasional music videos.
“Glitter” is nowhere near as bad as most films on the IMDb Bottom 100, but that certainly doesn’t mean I am going to recommend it. There isn’t much entertainment value here if you ask me, which makes it just a waste of time. However, there is a Rifftrax of the movie out there that is apparently pretty popular. For those unaware, Rifftrax is essentially the heir to MST3k: it is run by the final lineup of the show, and they do independent commentary tracks for movies in the same style that MST3K worked, just without the robot silhouettes. I haven’t seen the whole riff, but the clips I have caught are pretty good. I would give the movie a light recommend with the Rifftrax.