As I let the opening credits roll past–for nine exhaustive minutes–the first thought that occurred to me was, “What the fuck is Padma Lakshmi doing in this movie?” The second was, “Does this Dice character look more like Mark Wahlberg or Ewan MacGregor?” The third was, “Is ‘Dice’ an appropriate nickname for anyone else but Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay?” Of course, once I let myself pose just a few these rhetorical questions, more and more came to mind. This is the kind of movie that leaves you with more questions than it answers. Kind of like the Lost finale, or so I’ve heard. I never saw it.

Let me be honest: Glitter tells one of the more depressing stories I’ve seen in a movie. Mother- and fatherless children will tug at my heartstrings no matter what. But this tumultuous (and partially biographical… cue the sad horn noise) tale takes it to a new level of… something. I don’t even know what. Mariah Carey, in a Razzie-winning turn, plays Billie, a girl from a broken home with a heart/voice of gold and a rather disadvantageous lack of street smarts. Credit her druggie mother with both of these traits; she inherited the pipes as well as the idiocy, the latter of which manifests itself in the fact that she dates a guy named “Dice” and wears an unexplained patch of body glitter on herself at all times. But that voice! It saves her! Or whatever. She ghost-sings for the Top Chef chick, this “Dice” fellow takes a “chance” on her (symbolism!) and becomes her producer/lover, she becomes a sparkly star, he gets jealous and also has money trouble, Terrence Howard (a.k.a. Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s stand-in) over-reacts kind of a lot and SPOILER ALERT eventually shoots him in the chest, somewhere in there she does a duet with former Mister Halle Berry, and then the movie ends, I guess on a positive note. Maybe she ended up getting with Eric Benet? Who knows.

I love that there’s a genre of movies out there, just waiting to be made, for female pop singers looking to revitalize their careers. Britney did it, Jessica did it, Mandy did it (thought I don’t mind her as much), and even J.Lo had her share of doozies. Without these divas, bad acting would have no standard and the cheap computer imaging industry would be nonexistent. Allow me to elaborate: Mariah Carey has the most hilarious, stupid smile on her face throughout the entire movie, like she’s incredibly pleased with herself for memorizing her lines, except she hasn’t said them yet because she’s smiling DURING EVERY SCENE. It’s magnificent. She looks like she’s in on a joke that’s not funny at all. Oh, and the scene transitions! These were probably my collective favorite part of the whole thing. At one point, there were fireworks. At others, the frames would speed up to indicate time passing by or something. And at others still, several random outdoor shots of New York City would flash by in rapid succession, and I’m not even sure what those were supposed to mean. They certainly underscored the setting, and the fact that it exists. They seemed to tell some parallel story independent of the plot of Glitter. Maybe there was a subtextual sci-fi thriller happening in those stills and I completely missed it!

Guess I’ll have to watch again.