Early in Britney Spears’ ”Crossroads” (Feb. 15), the perpetually perky 20-year-old does something she’s never done before, at least in public: She gets really pissed off. ”I’m so sick of the two of you bitching and fighting every damn second of the day!” Britney’s character, Lucy, shouts at her friends. As outbursts go, it’s hardly in Sonny Corleone territory, but the scene nevertheless startled the orthodonture-and-giggle-prone audience at a recent New York advance screening. ”Ooooh,” they cried, as if a classmate had cursed at junior-high assembly.
Come to think of it, nearly every move Lucy made prompted an audible response from the crowd — whether it was cheers, applause, you-go-girl shouts, or laughter (appreciative and, very occasionally, derisive). ”Crossroads” isn’t ”Spice World” or ”Hard Day’s Night” — Brit plays a character, not herself. But as the audience’s fanatical attention suggests, no one’s treating this as just another teen movie. With that in mind, here are answers to some burning ”Crossroads” questions.
How much music is there?
A lot, but it’s not necessarily what you’d expect. Lucy and her friends Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning) spend much screen time singing along with the radio on their road trip, which lets us hear Britney’s throaty vocals on Sheryl Crow’s ”If It Makes You Happy,” Shania Twain’s ”Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” and, cleverly, ‘N Sync’s ”Bye Bye Bye.”
What about actual Britney songs?
Lucy competes in a karaoke contest with the Joan Jett hit ”I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (as heard on Spears’ most recent album) and performs Britney’s current single, ”I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.” The movie generated some of its only inadvertent laughs when Lucy reads that song’s lyrics as lines from a poem she scribbled in a notebook (in real life, it was team-written by singer/songwriter Dido and Swedish svengalis Max Martin and Rami).