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Candy' Bland

Baldwin critiques Mandy Moore’s debut single “Candy”

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It’s hard to think of a more qualified VJ candidate than Mandy Moore. The tiny teen songstress — who begins her video jock duties at MTV this weekend co-hosting Snowed In! — clearly knows from insipid, hackneyed music clips, as evidenced by the paint-by-numbers video for her sugary hit single ”Candy.” Let the deconstructing begin.

Time: 0:42 The Trite Stuff: The camera zooms from a stereotypical suburban setting — kids playing near a parked ice cream truck — to inside Moore’s gingham-checked bedroom, where she’s posing in a variety of formfitting get-ups. Analysis: There’s a disturbing (but mandatory) whiff of sexuality over this Junior Miss tableau, thanks to a muted voice-over of the song’s first line: ”Give it to me!” We’ll say this about Moore’s acting: She scrunches her nose convincingly to convey unhappiness with her hair.

Time: 1:27 The Trite Stuff: Cruising with four girlfriends in their ”rad” ride — a new lime green VW Beetle — Moore exchanges glances with a standard-issue hottie on a skateboard. Analysis: Even if the 15-year-old Moore were old enough to drive, her eye line barely clears the wheel. Would somebody please get her a booster seat?

Time: 2:29 The Trite Stuff: At a ’50s-style diner, Moore practically makes out with the straw in her beverage before getting up to perform the sly-smile-hair-toss-hip-swaying-stroll-by-once-over for the aforementioned hottie. Analysis: Someone’s been taking lip-synching lessons from Whitney Houston; Moore could pull a facial muscle from over-enunciating lines like ”Satisfyin’ baby/Let me show you what I’m made o-o-f.” Don’t forget to stretch, Mandy!

Time: 2:51 The Trite Stuff: A Pop Video 101 dance sequence in the parking lot (more VW product placement). Moore and her chick clique execute basic butt-wiggling, arm-waving maneuvers. Analysis: Moore’s a passable dancer, but given her gangly, prepubescent body, this attempt to sexualize her (close-ups of her ”oh baby” pout, choreography designed to showcase what should someday be cleavage) is just creepy. And the video’s ”happy ending” is dubious: Hottie takes Moore for a ride on his retro-chic moped to a park, and she gets to watch him skateboard (yawn). Moore’s fans should aim higher in their own crush conquests. Overall Grade: C-

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