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FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini
Director: Robert Iscove
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen & 1.33:1 Full Frame
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 81 Minutes
Release Date: August 26, 2003

Film **

I voted for Kelly Clarkson to win on American Idol!  I’m sorry Justin, I couldn’t help myself…she just had that stage presence that made me stand up and shout GO KELLY, GO!  That was a live television broadcast, which I got all caught up in just like the millions of other people who helped propel Justin and Kelly to the top of the heap. 

More than a year later and what do we have to show for our diligent dialing?  From Justin To Kelly, a musical based around two modern American sweethearts!

I really enjoyed this little nonsensical flick, a lot more than I thought I would.  When I first heard that they were making a movie based on the winner and runner up of the first American Idol I thought NO WAY, oh man, that is so lame.   Now, after spending a mere eighty-one minutes of my time with this DVD blasting through my television I can say I was wrong.  

Kelly is from Texas (SHOCK) and Justin hails from Pennsylvania (GASP), and they are both in Florida for…yep, you guessed it, spring break.  Ahh Miami, the tanning lotion, the steamy music, hot bodies…what more could an adolescent with daddy’s credit card want?

This movie is a throw back to the Frankie and Annette movies of yesteryear.   Justin and Kelly meet, and of course, fall head over heals for each other.   Then a series of interruptions, misadventures, and misunderstandings take place.  What’s a gal to do and how’s a guy to deal?

I must say that Mr. Guarini surprised me with his acting ability.  He was very sincere with the pitch and delivery of his lines and he played his character very close to the vest.  I think through this movie America got to see a good dose of the real Justin Guarini who stole their hearts on stage last year.

Now as some of you may or may not know, Justin has had some acting experience.  He was the understudy to the man playing the part of The Lion King Simba in the Broadway production. 

Kelly Clarkson on the other hand, to my knowledge, has had no acting experience.   I think this hurt her to a degree, because when delivering some of her lines it felt forced and almost tense.  However, this was her first time in front of the big camera and who wouldn’t be nervous and tense.  All that said, she really did do a bang up job as the female lead in this film as well as lending her better than amazing vocal talents to the soundtrack.

She and Justin together?  Well yeah, there’s chemistry there.  They play nicely off of each other throughout the whole film and you get a sense of the depth their friendship has taken on since they were first seen together for all of America to behold. 

As a musical?  Well like I said before, it hearkens back to the days when Frankie and Annette played Beach Blanket Bingo.   No rough, tough, motorcycle gangs to contend with on the beach, but there are plenty of not so friendly best friends who are out to make it harder than necessary on the couple.

With the fresh and vibrant faces of Justin and Kelly to watch, and a very nicely put together soundtrack of old and new songs, this movie was pleasing to watch as well as fun.  Grab a copy of From Justin To Kelly on DVD and relax cause it’s party time.

Video ***

This disc was vibrant, with very little dirt or graininess to the texture of the print. 

The 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and 1.33:1 Full Frame presentations both transferred very nicely without any hazing or artifacting that was notable. 

What I liked about this film was that they made good use of natural lighting.   This allowed it to have a more natural and realistic feel.  The colors themselves were bursting off the screen, helped give this twist to an old story a refreshing and vibrant facelift. 

Audio ***

I have to give this disc a good deal of credit in the audio department.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround put all of my speakers to good use.  It wasn’t simply that everything was balanced well, but more like as a musical it resonated nicely throughout the room without anything sounding out of phase or sync.

There were no audible problems other than the occasional person singing off key but you can only put the blame for that on the person missing their notes.  That’s the type of thing that should be caught in the studio!

Features ***

This dynamic, dancing, DVD is helped out by the features given for your viewing pleasure.

There is a never-before-seen extended movie version on this disc, which contains two new song and dance numbers.

Full-length audio commentary by Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, and director Robert Iscove is included.  You can’t help but smile at the enthusiasm both Clarkson and Guarini had about filming this movie. 

A behind the scenes featurette gives you a look at the goings on behind the camera, while the Video Scrapbook helps to fill things in a bit more.

Deleted scenes, and an all too short gag reel bring to a close this DVD’s extra features.

Summary:

I enjoyed this movie; it was cute, quick, and fun.  What you were expecting/ emotional depth, and engaging dialogue?  Puh-lease!   This disc is almost exactly what you would expect from a film based around the winner and runner up to a reality TV show.    Pick this disc up and let it take you for a spin.