From Justin To Kelly: Beware of Spring Break Musicals (The Lost Video)
“From Justin to Kelly” was released in June 20, 2003. The film’s domestic box office gross was $$4,928,883.
When film historians look back at the first decade of the twenty-first century, they will point to it as the decade that marked the return of the movie musical. They will mention such critically acclaimed successes as “Chicago,” “Dream Girls,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and, of course, “From Justin to Kelly.” Yes, somewhere after that first hit season of “American Idol” back in 2002, some bastion of creativity at 20th Century Fox said, “Hey, I’ve got a GREAT idea: Let’s throw “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson and questionably gay runner-up Justin Guarini together in a musical. And make them star-crossed lovers. And set it in that most romantic of settings, Miami during Spring Break. It’s a can’t miss! Eat your heart out Bob Fosse.”
And so was born “From Justin to Kelly.”
IF YOU CAN GET OVER THE HUMILIATION OF HAVING TO RENT IT, THE HARD PART IS OVER
There is no good reason on Earth to be renting “From Justin to Kelly.” Not even if you love Kelly Clarkson more than life itself. Not even in you love movies set in Miami. Not even if your brother-in-law was an extra in Party Scene #6. Get it On Demand, pray that it comes on late night on Starz, or, if you must, get it on Netflix. Because there is no greater humiliation in this world than walking up to the counter at Blockbuster on a Friday night and having the attractive, 19-year-old clerk say “You’re renting ‘From Justin to Kelly?” You can’t legitimately say “Oh, shit, is that what’s in there? I must have grabbed the wrong box. I was looking for “Remains of the Day.” No, no, you unfortunately must stand there in your USMC T-shirt and tell this girl, with a straight face, that yes, I do indeed plan on spending Friday night watching “From Justin to Kelly.”
And then she laughs.
“Seriously?” she says. Now there has to be some sort of policy against commenting on customers’ rental choice at blockbuster. After all, had I been renting “Busty Cops 2,” I doubt she would have said much other than a giggly “Have a nice night.” But something about a six-two ex-marine renting “From Justin to Kelly,” on a Friday night must just scream “Rules be damned, this guy is a f-ing LOSER!” I could have told her I was reviewing it for work, but something says she’d have believed me about as much as the convenience store clerk who I try and tell I read “Barely Legal” for its groundbreaking investigative journalism. So I just took my copy of “From Justin to Kelly,” and, while the rest of Gainesville celebrated UF homecoming, watched it with my good friends Papa John and Orville Redenbacher.
81 MINUTES OF YOUR LIFE YOU’LL NEVER GET BACK
Since I have already lost most of your respect in the first three paragraphs, I will just go ahead and say here that I am a big Kelly Clarkson fan. When you are done pointing your fingers and laughing, please continue on. But even a big-time Kelly Clarkson fan such as me should never have to lose the 81 minutes out of their life that it requires to watch this film. It is bad in the worst way a movie can be: It is not even laughably bad, it just flat out sucks.
The film starts as Texas cocktail waitress Kelly, who sings nightly to a bunch of drunken cowboys on the set of “Roadhouse” they dragged up from a back lot for filming, is coerced into driving to Miami by two of her friends. The friends are anorexic party girl Alexa, who at 21 sounds like she’s been smoking for 35 years, and the lovably fun Kaya, the token black character in the film. Kelly reluctantly agrees, but is wary of the skeezy guys and objectification of women that is so prevalent during Spring break.
Upon arriving in Miami, Kelly parks in front of a hotel across the street from the beach. Now, anyone who has ever lived in Miami will immediately think “She’d better move that that truck soon or those assholes at Beach Towing are gonna get her. And then this movie is gonna SUCK.” Although, now that I think about it, a musical about South Beach tow truck drivers would probably be better than this one. Kelly and friends flawlessly walk across the street from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale Beach (traffic was light on 95, I guess) and within 5 minutes have whipped the collected Spring breakers into a full-on ensemble dance number.
Now, I must take this time to apologize to all the regular readers of mine on this site. In all of my guiding you to having sex, saving money, and avoiding scams on Spring Break, I somehow failed to mention the occasional musical production numbers that break out on the beach from time to time. So next year, when you’re in the middle of Nikki Beach and all of a sudden the entire crowd starts doing box steps and pairing off for barrel rolls, and you have no idea what to do, you can go ahead and blame me.
The cast begins to lip synch the first song in a manner that implies a 75-foot sea monster is about to invade the island. During this highly entertaining revue Justin and Kelly notice each other on the beach. Justin is a party promoter with a party boy reputation. He is in Miami with his two friends Brandon (another promoter) and his geeky buddy Eddie who is in Miami to meet a girl from the internet. Brandon wants Justin to go out and bang as many girls as he can (aka the goal of 99.9 percent of men on Spring Break) but Justin wants “something deeper.” And he thinks he can find it with Kelly.
Of course, Justin and Kelly like each other, but keep missing connections . Trying to keep them apart is the vixen Alexa, who is jealous that men like Kelly for more than just her body. Justin takes Kelly out on a boat and it is clear from this scene that Justin, if he is indeed gay, is one terrible actor. I think there would have been more sexual tension if the movie had been called “From Clay to Reuben.” The kiss scene vaguely reminds me of the fake wedding I went to a while back where my ex married her gay friend and they had to kiss for the pictures. Something tells me it was just as awkward and “yucky” for Justin and Kelly.
TOURISTS TAKE NOTE: GOING WITH A LOCAL TO A SPOT UNDER A BRIDGE NEAR THE MIAMI RIVER IS NOT A GOOD IDEA IN REAL LIFE
One of the more interesting and predictable subplots involves Kaya meeting a dish washer at Nikki Beach named, and you’re never going to believe this one, Carlos. Yes, a hot, local Hispanic guy who washes dishes named Carlos. Carlos, like every other guy working in the service industry on the beach during spring break, is hoping that this March he’ll meet that one special lady that he can spend the rest of his life with. Or, you know, maybe just half an hour on the sand after his shift. But instead of the typical “wait for me while I check out then we can go to Ted’s,” routine that most real beach-service types do, Carlos asks Kaya if she’s “feeling adventurous.”
And wouldn’t you know it, he takes her to a spot that looks like it saw about 20 cocaine massacres under a bridge next to the Miami River. Unlike in real life, it is not a back alley where she is going to be raped and thrown to dissolve in the water, it is a high-end salsa club! Again, never saw that one coming. You want a REAL local’s experience, Kaya? When he said “Meet me back here at 8,” you should have shown up at 8 a.m. Then, Carlos would have taken you over the Causeway to the Space patio until noon. If you still love the local flavor after that, there is something seriously wrong with you.
While this is going on, Alexa tries to trick Justin into ditching Kelly and meeting her at Pearl. She does the requisite “Naughty Baby” number with the assistance of all the male staff of Pearl (all 2 of them, usually) and dances on the table and bar tops. Justin shows up expecting Kelly, Alexa tries to seduce him, blah blah blah, and somehow they’re back in Ft. Lauderdale.
Kaya ends up getting Carlos fired, as she complains to his manager when he asks him to work a double. Ha, ha, ha. Complaining about working a double on the Beach? Kaya, my dear, you have a lot to learn about this town. Carlos goes back across the dreaded causeway and ends up washing dishes at what appears to be the same place Tony and Manolo worked before they started their cocaine empire. This is yet another example of screenwriters who know about as much about Miami as they do about good dialog making it look like Hispanics in this city are all dishwashers. Who somehow speak English. I have not, in all my time in the service industry, met a Latin dishwasher in Miami. Haitain, sure, but never Hispanic. Hispanics are generally the owners of the bars and restaurants here but that point is, once again, lost on Hollywood.
EVERYONE LIVES HAPPILY EVER AFTER AS LONG AS EVERYONE IS NAMED “KELLY CLARKSON”
Eventually Kelly catches on to Alexa’s double dealings, and she and Justin finally meet up and vow to try a real relationship. Because that is so often the case on Spring Break. The movie ends with another big Spring Break musical number and everyone lives happily ever after. Alexa ends up stopping Justin before he can go to the airport, so Kelly forgives her. Carlos forgives Kaya for getting him fired and they pair up long enough to at least do a few double turns in the final number. Brandon, the party boy, finally gets to hook up with the hot cop who’s been issuing him citations the whole vacation (if only they’d have had a scene of him spending the night in DCJ) and the geek finally meets his internet girlfriend.
The curtain closes, everyone comes out for a curtain call, and we all smell a great big Tony Award in everyone’s future. Right? All I can say is thank God Kelly Clarkson can sing. And thank God Justin can too, otherwise his career would have ended right after this movie got out of theaters.
Justin sang this song “From Me To You” in the movie “From Justin to Kelly”. Inexplicably, it wasn’t in the theatrical version.
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