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After a Behind the Music episode, and the documentary featuring Left Eye’s final weeks in Honduras, TLC shares more of their story for their fans.
Review (with Spoilers)
Without a doubt, there are few bands featuring women which have done as much as TLC. Perhaps the only others who stand beside, if not a few steps above, would be The Supremes and The Spice Girls when you speak of iconic female groups. But, with it being now over a decade since Left-Eye’s death, perhaps with CrazySexyCool is meant to serve as the surviving members of TLC going over their past one more time as they prep us for the future.
Now, most of the time the film does feel balanced. Keke Palmer plays Chilli and gets a few good stories dealing with issues she had with Pebbles, her child’s father and showing Chilli’s personality; then we have Drew Sidora as T-Boz and we get to see her as sort of the big sister, as well as watch as she goes through the issues which come with Sickle Cell Anemia; and then there is Lil Mama’s role as Left-Eye, which often steals the show as she takes on a life which is heartbreaking, dramatic and spirited to the point that knowing she isn’t physically with us is slightly heartbreaking.
When it comes to the story the movie starts with the formation of TLC, before Chilli was even part of the group and a girl named Crystal was the C. What happens to her isn’t discussed, but what is shown is Chilli coming in and the girls bonding. In fact, most of the movie deals with their sisterhood and how they supported each other through personal hard times, or even when Left-Eye’s ego was starting to cause friction. Everything in the movie leads up to what looked like the end for TLC with Left-Eye’s death, and then them showing the original members recording their new single “Meant To Be.”
To be honest, my expectations were low after seeing what they did to Biggie in Notorious. My expectations were just to hear a few songs I didn’t remember and that being the most I got out of this. Surprisingly, though, CrazySexyCool in no way tries to just live off the band’s name, their music, and your nostalgia, and leave you with something slapped together. Truly it seems like T-Boz and Chilli wanted to get personal with their fans, or at least as much as they could, and reveal stuff that is personal and deep to them. In the film, we go over their struggles in music and their personal lives, and not just the well-known drama, but the stuff perhaps only die-hard fans, friends and family may know. Which leads me to mention Lil Mama and how she truly makes you feel like you are witnessing Left-Eye’s life during these times. Truly, to me, Lil Mama puts on the type of performance which makes you think she may be thinking of being the next rapper to cross into acting and not look back. That is how good she is. To me, if they mixed archival footage and Lil Mama’s performance, the two would seamlessly mix together. You see, as you watch Lil Mama take on Left-Eye’s struggles it gets you to the point of being teary eyed and pissed that so many of our great artist die so young.
But while I may praise Lil Mama, I must admit she does cast a slight shadow on Palmer and Sidora for they really can’t keep up. Sometimes while watching Lil Mama work, it almost makes it seem like Palmer and Sidora may have the hair styles and clothing to be Chilli and T-Boz, but their performances don’t match. Be it because Left-Eye had the biggest persona or the girls’ performances, it truly is hard to say. But I did wonder why sometimes they seemed to use Left-Eye more so for drama than anything else. In the film, T-Boz and Chilli, Sidora and Palmer, narrate randomly at times, but such an opportunity isn’t given to Left-Eye/Lil Mama. Also, though for the most part all of Lil Mama’s raps of Left-Eye are dubbed, they give Palmer the chance to sing despite sounding nothing like Chilli at all.
Overall: Worth Watching
In a Power 105.1 interview, Chilli stated the reason they went to VH1 and didn’t go the theatrical way, was so that this would be played over and over like The Temptations movie and The Jackson 5 movie. Now, as of this moment, I wouldn’t put CrazySexyCool in the same category since the music doesn’t have as much of a focus as those two films have it. However, with Lil Mama’s performance, a familiar brand, and a sense of nostalgia, it is hard to not recommend this movie to watch. For, though I can’t foresee if it may perhaps become as classic as the Jackson 5 and Temptations movie, I do think Chilli’s decision to bring this to VH1 was definitely a good one.