Movie Review

Alexa and Kaya are bummed. It’s almost spring break and all they want to do is hit the sunny Florida beaches. But the travel company planning their bacchanalian bash just went broke and that means they’re stranded in Texas. Booooring. What are the two hot-to-trot ladies supposed to do? Well, there’s the obvious: hit up a friend (the sweet-spirited Kelly in this case) for a ride to the Sunshine State. That’s when they discover three gentlemen from Pennsylvania—Justin, Brandon and Eddie—who are heading south as well. Perhaps "gentlemen," though, isn’t quite the right term. You see, Justin and Brandon are entrepreneurial party promoters with a reputation for throwing raucous shindigs packed with plenty of beautiful babes. And lonely Eric is better dubbed as "desperate." He’s just tagging along, hoping to meet his Internet girlfriend in person. But enough about silly characters who aren’t Justin and Kelly. They’re the two we’re supposed to be paying attention to. They’re the ones who are supposed to fall in love. They’re the ones who just can’t help but break out in "spontaneous" song!

positive elements: Kelly is deeply offended by the antics of Justin and Brandon’s company . Before meeting them, she calls them "the kings of getting drunk and objectifying women." Once she realizes Justin’s part in it, she rebuffs his advances, which eventually causes him to repent of his old ways. Ironically, he finds himself attracted to Kelly because she isn’t a party girl. Kaya praises a Hispanic waiter named Carlos for being a gentleman. Brandon’s misogynistic and hedonistic tendencies (making an inappropriate sexual display in public, running a bikini contest without a permit, destroying a curio stand and gambling) are offset by the fact that he’s constantly getting fined by a police officer for his offenses. (The message is mitigated when he and the curvaceous female officer begin dating.) Alexa’s completely unsympathetic manipulation of Kelly and Justin’s romance becomes a good example of what not to look for in a friend.

spiritual content: When Justin misses a meeting with Kelly, she and Kaya say his only legitimate excuse could be if he’s on his deathbed with "a priest giving him his last rites." A scheming Alexa asks at one point, "God, how could you curse me with a perfect body and the gift of persuasion?" When Alexa tells Kelly and Justin that fate has brought them together, Justin responds, "Well, whatever it is, it feels great!"

sexual content: When "spring break" and "the beach" are combined, you know what to expect: miniscule swimwear designed to provoke. From start to finish, nubile coeds strut their stuff while big beefcakes flex their muscles. From Justin to Kelly’s obligatory song-and-dance routines add lots of motion to this scantily-clad world. Bodies bend, twirl and thrust, breasts jiggle and rears shake. It’s not quite The Real Cancun, but it’s definitely reminiscent of MTV’s Spring Break series. When Kelly tells Alexa that "all the guys [on spring break] have one thing on their mind," her friend responds, "Why do you think I’m going?" Brandon joyfully admits that he’s incapable of maintaining long-term relationships with women and sees spring break as an opportunity to go after as many ladies as he can. Justin and Brandon’s company promotes a "whipped cream bikini contest" (ironically, the whipped cream "suits" prove more modest than much of the clothing on display). Alexa touches Justin’s backside. Brandon makes a crude comment about sexual encounters in a bathroom. He also asks an amorous, off-duty policewoman if she has her handcuffs with her. Various characters lock lips.

violent content: Kelly accidentally pushes Justin out a window. Alexa gets shoved to the ground by a mob after she swipes Justin’s party passes. During a "margarita madness" bash, she crashes into a waiter, splattering herself with brightly colored drinks. While being chased by a jealous boyfriend, Brandon accidentally trashes a beachside vendor’s wares. Another jealous boyfriend punches Eddie. Justin gets bumped into a pool during a dance sequence. Two hovercrafts crash into each other, leaving a person with a bloody cut on his head.

crude or profane language: A couple of abuses of God’s name. When trying to impress Carlos, Kaya lets loose a string of half-a-dozen mild profanities. Phrases such as "dork," "jerk" and "nerd" crop up.

drug and alcohol content: Various characters drink throughout the movie. A love-struck Texan asks Kelly out for dinner and a beer, but she declines. Alexa pitches the spring break trip to Kelly by having her imagine "sipping piña coladas with your two best friends." Alexa and Justin order drinks at a posh club. Kelly, Alexa, Kaya and Carlos imbibe at another hangout.

other negative elements: The overused concept of "love at first sight" gets a strenuous workout. In fact, the film makes the romantic reasoning of On the Line ("She’s pretty, he’s handsome; it’s bound to work!") seem profound. Justin relentlessly pursues Kelly because of the mysterious "connection" he feels. When Kaya goes on a date with Carlos, she cites a similar justification. With the tenacity of a ravenous python the movie clings to the wrongheaded idea that one can find a soul mate in a week or less through mere intuition—even if the couple has nothing in common.

conclusion:"If people’s expectations are going to be greater than ‘it’s just a couple of kids making a movie and having fun,’ they’ll be disappointed," says From Justin to Kelly scribe Kim Fuller. "It’s not One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest." That’s a tad too kind. This project from American Idol alums plays out like its script was penciled on the back of a damp cocktail napkin. Of course, some shallowness is to be expected. Beach films (think of 1960s staples such as Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party and Beach Blanket Bingo) have never exactly risen to the level of high art. But the most disappointing aspect of this Clarkson and Guarini vehicle isn’t its hackneyed plot or painful dialogue: It’s the astonishing amount of flesh that the PG-rated movie flashes. Slinky sexuality, along with dubious messages about love, make this a feature not worth idolizing.

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Kelly Clarkson as Kelly; Justin Guarini as Justin; Katherine Bailess as Alexa; Anika Noni Rose as Kaya; Greg Siff as Brandon; Brian Dietzen as Eddie; Jason Yribar as Carlos; Theresa San-Nicholas as Officer Cutler; Christopher Bryan as Luke


Robert Iscove ( )


20th Century Fox



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In Theaters

On Video

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Loren Eaton