The Lifetime unauthorized Britney Spears biopic, titled Britney Ever After, premiered on Saturday night, and to say that the reviews, from both critics and fans, aren’t great is to put it mildly. Social media attacked it during its airing and the criticism continued today. One outlet called it “a toxic experience.” Ouch.
Several of the movie’s issues are the direct result of it being unauthorized. This meant that none of Britney’s original music could be used. None of her videos or clips of her real appearances could be used. In addition, there was no time spent on her pre-fame days, so we didn’t see her as a Mouseketeer or competing in Louisiana, or any of the other things that would have been fun to see. Billboard said that Natasha Bassett, who played Spears in the movie, made it “better than it has any right to be,” although the New York Daily News noted that the actress didn’t resemble the singer at all.
Despite this fact, many felt that Bassett was successful in some ways. Spears has always managed to be sweet, but raunchy, as well as able to portray a naivete while not being completely blind to who she is and what she wants. Bassett managed to bring these qualities to the screen pretty well.
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar took to tweet to express her disapproval.
Only one of Britney’s songs, “Baby, One More Time,” was mentioned, and that was briefly. In general, the movie failed to capitalize on the iconic moments of the star’s life, leaving everyone disappointed and wishing there were more. Billboard commented on the telefilm.
“… there’s very little of her actually performing on stage, and zero of her music videos: Can’t show the finished products, of course, but how hard would it have been to give us a few behind-the-scenes flashes of Schoolgirl Britney, Devilish Britney, Flight Attendant Britney?”
Britney Ever After focused on her fall, which, while a fascinating part of her real life, didn’t have the impact it could have if more of her glory days had been included in the film. In addition, some favorite memories of Britney were altered, upsetting many fans. For example, she and Justin Timberlake showed up at the 2001 American Music Awards in matching denim outfits — she in a denim dress and he in a denim suit. It’s a classic pop culture moment, but Lifetime changed it. Spears wore a pantsuit instead of a dress, something fans found very upsetting.
There were some moments that some are calling successful, like some of the more memorable moments from Spears’ real life that showed up on the small screen Saturday night. E! Online listed several.
Remember her first marriage? To Jason Alexander? It lasted about 55 hours, and was not happily ever after. But Britney Ever After handled it in a pretty cool way by just showing her waking up next to him, not really remembering getting married.
And then there was the time she almost dropped her baby, which was as terrifying in the re-enactment as it was when it really happened.
And they had to include a scene with Spears shaving her head. The whole mess with her dad was included as well, starting with the very first scene when she talks about how she doesn’t control her own life. Then there was the dinner with the band and her family after Spears appeared with ‘N Sync. Her father’s credit card was declined and he went ballistic. His alcoholism was included in Britney Ever After, including one scene where she is afraid the paparazzi will get pictures of him while he’s drunk and asks her mom to get him inside.
Overall, although it had some good moments, Britney Ever After disappointed in many ways.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]