VH1 adds to ever growing original movie content with ‘CRAZY SEXY COOL: THE TLC STORY’, which explores the tale of the record breaking and trendsetting 90s girl group TLC.
This fast-paced made for TV release will definitely entertain and spark nostalgia among new and old fans.
Opening with the voice of Drew Sidora (who cooly plays Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins), each girl expresses their love for music at a young age. All three grew up with some type of void to fill – Chiil and T-Boz not having father figures and Lisa crying out for her father’s attention.
We fast forward to the early 90s in Atlanta, which is the hot spot for emerging talent at the time. Record exec L.A. Reid (played by Carl Anthony Payne aka Cole from Martin) owns half of the powerful and popular LaFace Records. His then wife, 80s singer Perri “Pebbles” Reid (played by Rochelle Aytes) is on the search for a new girl group.
After hearing word of the search, T-Boz (who was known around ATL for her dancing skills) hits up Crystal Jones and Left Eye so they could audition for Pebbles. After they head to LaFace Records for their first audition, Pebbles kicks Crystal out and recruits little known background dancer Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas (played by Keke Palmer).
Even though it is barely mentioned in the movie, T-Boz, Left Eye and Crystal went by the name 2nd Nature and had already been in a group at the time. The whole scene with Crystal auditioning and subsequently being kicked out a group she help create was kind of shady and I would be interested in knowing her take on how it really went down. Nevertheless, the new group slowly starts to take the dramatic steps to what would be super stardom.
Lil Mama is the breakout star of the film. With dark contacts, she steps into the shoes of the late great Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. She mimics her voice to a T and even has her humorous side down pact. Not to mention, she nails some of the more dramatic scenes including the infamous “house burning” incident and Left Eye’s much publicized alcohol problems and bouts with depression. Lil Mama will hopefully garner a much deserved buzz after this and I’ll be interested in seeing her in more acting roles.
Drew Sidora as T-Boz is a great fit. Her dancing skills aren’t on T-Boz’s level, matter of fact none of the ladies really got down like TLC did, but overall she was believable. It was widely known that T-Boz was fighting Sickle Cell Anemia at the time, but to realize how many times she was in the hospital during the span of their run was eye opening. There is an especially touching scene with T-Boz and her mom in a hospital room that may make some viewers misty eyed. T-Boz was definitely a fighter and Drew did a good job of showing how much of a level head she had for the group.
On the other hand, Keke Palmer (who is probably the best known one out of the bunch), lacks a little something in her portrayal of Chilli. There was an especially cringe worthy part during the “No Scrubs” video shoot, where her lip syncing was way off. Don’t get me wrong, she does a good job but for some reason something was missing for me. However, the scenes between her and Evan Ross (who plays Chilli’s baby daddy / songwriter Dallas Austin) gave great chemistry. They explored their tumultuous relationship that included an abortion, cheating and then the birth of their child. According to the film, Dallas eventually wanted to settle down but she opted just to stay friends and co-parent. You really look at Chilli in a new light at the end of the film.
The most talked about scenes will definitely be how Pebbles allegedly swindled them out of millions and wouldn’t let them see their contracts. Another buzzworthy scene is when the group bum rushed their way into Clive Davis’ office to ask about their money. In addition, they tastefully covered the tragic death of Left Eye by adding in some clips from her much talked about 2007 documentary, The Last Days of Left Eye.
Overall, this movie will definitely have twitter talking and I hate to say it but it was blatantly obvious that were pushing classic TLC singles in promotion for the new compilation album, 20 (which released last week). The last scene which features a plug of the new single, “Meant To Be,” was a little too contrived. But I’m not gonna say that I wasn’t feeling it. As a TLC fan, I appreciated the overall effort and chemistry all actresses had together.