Here is the good news: Britney Spears is a better actress than Mariah Carey. Here is the bad news: the movie is not very good. Here is the worse news: it is not appropriate for the girls who should have been its prime target, Britney fans ages 8-14. Instead, the movie has subject matter that is too mature for that age group, but treats those subjects without any of the originality, maturity, or genuine understanding that would hold the attention of older teens or adults. Its biggest fault is not having a clear idea of its audience.
Britney plays Lucy, who finds herself feeling empty as she prepares for her high school graduation. She has achieved all of her father’s dreams for her, graduating as valedictorian and preparing to enroll in a rigorous pre-med program. And she is about to fulfill someone else’s dream, too — she has agreed to have sex with her lab partner so that they can go to college and not be ostracized as virgins.
She can’t go through with it, though, because it isn’t special enough. When her estranged pregnant friend invites her to come along with a guy neither has ever met before and drive to Los Angeles, she impulsively accepts. So does a third estranged friend, the engaged prom queen, who wants to go to LA to see her boyfriend.
So off we go on a road trip, which will give these old friends a chance to remember their connections and have some adventures. Yes, the car breaks down. Yes, they don’t have the money to repair it. Guess what? There’s a karaoke contest! Maybe if they win, they can earn enough money to pay for the repairs! Britney sings the old Joan Jett song, “I Love Rock and Roll” and the crowd throws tomatoes and runs them out of town. Okay, no, just kidding, the crowd goes wild and showers the girls with money.
Everyone learns some important lessons, and the three wishes made by the girls when they were eight and swore to be lifelong friends turn out to be not exactly what they had in mind. But they learn that the friendship was more than they had expected, and that not knowing exactly what their dreams are might make life more interesting.
Parents should know that in addition to one of the girls being pregnant (we learn later, the result of a rape when she was drunk), the girls get drunk (and giggle about who has “touched it”). Lucy has sex with a man, and it is clear that unlike the planned prom night encounter, it is very special. The girls take a very big risk by getting in a car with a man they do not know, who turns out to have a prison record, and setting off with him for California with no plans and no money. They all stay in the same rooms along the way. Some family members may be upset by Lucy’s meeting with the mother who left her when she was three.
Families who see this movie should talk about why it was so difficult for Lucy to talk to her father and why Kit thought that all she wanted was to get married. What do you think the girls will do next? How did Lucy decide that it was the right time for her to become intimate with Ben?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Britney’s video collection.