Stay Tuned
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Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Fantasia": Definitely NOT a "Fairy Tale"

When I said that the reviews of “The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale” had been mixed, I was actually being kind. All of the reviews but one were extremely negative.

I’d like to know what that one critic was watching.

Robert LoBianco of “USA Today” compared it to “From Justin to Kelly.” I consider that a huge insult to Justin and Kelly.

There’s no way around it. This movie is horrible. Yes, Fantasia had a hard life which is probably worthy of a Lifetime movie—but not this one. The writing is lousy, the direction is sloppy and it’s poorly edited together.

But the biggest problem is Fantasia herself. I can’t believe Debbie Allen (the director) would allow this movie to be made with someone who can’t act. Apparently, Fantasia thinks that speaking in a hushed voice is more dramatic and apparently Allen did nothing to convince her otherwise.

It’s fairly obvious now why she didn’t get the role in “Dreamgirls.”

However, in Fantasia’s defense, Allen didn’t assemble the best supporting cast to help her out. Kadeem Hardison starts out okay as her dad, but as the character gets darker, his “frightening” rage comes off as ridiculous, as Hardison is not able to handle the meatier material.

Buzz for the movie was created by the controversy about whether or not “Idol” producers asked Fantasia to quit. That’s not exactly how it happens in the movie (They just give her the option.), but it’s clear to me the writers were only taking dramatic license. The bigger controversy should have been the complete waste of the “American Idol” clips. We saw her performance of ‘Summertime,” but not the original where she cried and Simon told her she was the American Idol. And though we got to see Ryan name her the winner, we did not see her performance of “I Believe,” which really could have been the perfect ending to the movie.

The ending we do get makes absolutely no sense. We see Fantasia come home to North Carolina where she gets a nice pep talk from a potential new boyfriend and then the scene immediately cuts to Fantasia singing a clip of “God Bless the Child” with movie clips playing behind her. Then it cuts back to her reading Dr. Seuss to her daughter in her pre-“Idol” apartment. As I said, no sense. If this was the story of her triumph, it should have ended with her triumph.

I don’t think this movie will hurt Fantasia’s career, but I think it should make her realize her career is in singing and not acting. And it should make Lifetime realize it should never work with Debbie Allen again.

“The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale” airs again Monday, August 21st at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.