New York,1983. Orphan Billie Frank has set her sights on a glittering musical career. When hot DJ Dice spots her in a club, the two soon enjoy more than a working relationship. But, as Billie's star rises, can their love survive the ruthless world of disco?
There was a cruel theory doing the rounds that Mariah Carey's breakdown was actually a ruse to avoid publicity duties for her first film. Here at Empire, we are sure that Ms.Carey was genuinely exhausted and are glad that she mended. But, let's face it, if the ditzy diva had thrown a sickie, who could have blamed her? Glitter's rhyming slang is well earned.
At times during the first hour of this 'rags to riches' story, Glitter appears to be the world's first Zen movie. Absolutely nothing happens. As young Billie works her way from disco clubs to Madison Square Garden, entire scenes wander past with the nutritional content of a CD case.
This is film as four-times-a-week soap opera. A world where all narrative and dramatic concerns have been replaced with illuminating exchanges such as:
"Will you sign for my label?"
"Yes, I will."
"Good, let's sing another song."
Naturally, director Vondie Hall would find piss-poor excuses to feature Carey's warble, but a scene which exists only to showcase the drumming talents of Max Beesley? Please. If Glitter had thrown up a single character with the appeal of Nasty Nigel, it might have made for an average episode of Popstars.
Mercifully, the incident-packed climax contains moments of such stupefying sillyness (just watch for the dramatic reappearance of a cat we have not seen for ten years!) that Glitter approaches a near-Showgirls camp-ness, but it is all too little, too late.
As for the question of whether Carey can act: on this evidence, who can tell? If this fluff was ever intended to be pseudo-biopic, all the good stuff was left on the floor.
It may seem churlish to kick a diva when she's down, and this movie had already tanked in the States, but then, we all knew would Mariah will pull through. After all, that's the moral at the very heart of Glitter - there's no problem a good power ballad can't sort out.
Heroically bad. At the screening, this journey into Mariah's shallow soul drew hearty applause. Of the ironic kind. Then again, critics don't have to shell out any cash. You may not feel so charitable.
Reviewed by Colin Kennedy