It seems unfair to devote an entire post to the films of Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez, since they rose to fame on the virtue of their singing voices and not their acting skills. But since Carey made the conscious decision to star in Glitter, and Lopez in Gigli, (numbers 14 and 12 on the ScreenRant chart respectively) they have opened themselves up to criticism. The two films, which were made three years apart, are always discussed in relation to one another. This is made all the more ironic for those who have a pop-culture knowledge, as Carey has repeatedly denied being aware of Lopez’s very existence.
Ms (I’m honestly not sure of her current relationship status) Lopez is such a repeat offender for the crime of bad movies that she should have earned herself her own post. In doing so she would have joined the rank of Cinematic Musing Hall of Famer Adam Sandler, who coincidentally will be the focus of our next post. Anaconda, in which she starred in 1997, and the more recent The Boy Next Door have both been critically panned but none so much as Gigli, which holds a record breaking six percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is the love child of ‘Bennifer,‘ the unholy romantic unison between Lopez and Ben Affleck. The premise is not only badly-thought out, but offensive to members of both the LGBTQ and the disabled community. In order to prevent the incarceration of his mob boss, Larry Gigli (played by Affleck) is tasked with kidnapping the mentally challenged brother of the federal prosecutor assigned to the case. However, due to the incompetence of both Gigli and the actor who plays him, he is assigned a fellow gangster, Ricki (Lopez) to ensure that he completes the job. Ricki identifies as a lesbian at the beginning of Gigli, but is ‘turned straight’ by Larry, a narrative decision that elicited passionate hatred from audiences. Despite their real-life relationship, one of the biggest criticisms leveled against the film is the complete lack of on-screen chemistry between it’s overpaid co-stars.
It’s very hard to mess-up a rags to riches tale that stars a ridiculously talented artist whose own upbringing mirrors that of the plot. And yet Glitter still managed to present a dull, overly-complicated story with uninspired characters. In it, a young singer named Billie Frank struggles to break out of the club circuit, despite the help of her “fellow foster kids turned back up singers,” who reminded me of the Seven Dwarves to Billie’s Snow White. She is in turn exploited by her manager, until she meets her mentor and love interest, Julian, a man who collaborates with her on some forgettable songs. the rest of the plot is just a series of cliche’s that fail to capitalize on Glitter’s built-in fanbase. the Washington Post went so far as to say: “ this star vehicle for singer Mariah Carey is primarily a showcase for her breasts.”
Although it has been unanimously agreed that Glitter is terrible, Carey is a strong contender for the Razzie Redeemer Award, an award presented to a past “Razzie Award nominee or winner who had subsequently ‘become a respected artist’ and come back from critical and/or commercial failure.” This is on the basis of her starring in two critically acclaimed films, 2013’s The Butler and The Academy Award Winning Precious, in which she plays the role of a welfare caseworker.
Lopez too has established herself as reigning queen over the romantic comedy genre, raking in millions at the box-office. They both seemed to learn from their early 2000’s mistakes, a relief for anyone who has ever had to sit through either of the films.