Video music arcade

By Jim Farber
October 22, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

‘Unpretty’ by TLC
In theory, it’s nice that a massively famous girl group has made a video encouraging young women to value their inner selves. At least director Paul Hunter made his clip a notable conversation piece: A fictitious boyfriend of TLC’s Chilli Thomas eggs her into getting breast implants. The problem: How can young female viewers fully trust stars who’ve made it largely on their looks when they tell them looks aren’t all that important? B-

‘Everything Is Everything’ by Lauryn Hill
Though she landed MTV’s big video music awards for her ”Doo Wop (That Thing)” clip, this follow-up wipes the floor with it. Director Sanji treats New York City as the world’s largest turntable. A huge needle grinds down Manhattan’s boulevards, while an unseen DJ scratches the whole island. It’s an ideal nod to New York as hip-hop’s birthplace, a city whose boroughs inspired the beat. A

‘All The Small Things’ by Blink 182
It’s hard to think of an easier target than teen groups — but Blink 182 couldn’t even bring themselves to plunge the dagger very deep. The punk trio prance around in clothes and expressions once modeled by the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. But, in the Weird Al tradition, they’re not so much ranking on the bands as making fun of how dumb they think they look done up this way. In fact, they look pretty good this way, and arguments otherwise only betray a genuine fear of objectification. B-

‘Coffee & TV’ by Blur
If ever a video had the potential to rouse a commercially sleepy CD, it’s this one. Brit auteurs Hammer & Tongs concocted a terrifically perverse story line, which brings one of those missing-person milk cartons to life to launch its own valiant search for a lost child. The carton couldn’t be more sympathetic, especially since the characters do little but cause our cardboard hero pain: The very kid he reunites with his family kills him. Still, it’s liberating for the viewer. The clip’s dry British wit leavens a subject otherwise crushed by sanctimony. A