An Exercise in Self-Loathing, But Also, in Loathing Alexis: Your Annotated Guide to “From Justin to Kelly”

I have never been very good at keeping up with movies. My law school roommates were so horrified by my lack of pop culture edification, in fact, that for my birthday one year they pitched in to buy me at $100 iTunes gift card on the condition that I only use it to view enumerated titles contained on a carefully curated list they had prepared in the birthday card. I’m pretty sure I used most of that gift card to buy Take Care and various Taylor Swift albums, but that’s not the point.

SEGUE, certainly not appearing anywhere on that very thoughtful, almost-certainly-ignored list was From Justin to Kelly, a 2003 movie starring pop megastar Kelly Clarkson and professional hair glob Justin Guarini. If you’ll recall, American Idol had just concluded its watershed first season in an era well before reality TV as a genre had firmly played itself out to the point where viewers are cynically looking for staged events (the stupefyingly insensitive “Brokeback Bachelor” gimmick), director tips (“Kaitlyn, you have to keep this Tony the Healer on the show for one more week or we’re bringing Britt back”), and spoon-fed lines (pretty much anything that that dolphin-laughing nincompoop Chris Soules ever said to the camera) before the shows even start. When people still largely bought into the premise that reality TV was just life happening before their eyes, unscripted, American Idol was a cultural event.  Riding the wave of the show’s success and the popularity of the immediately-touring-together Idol finalists, the rushed-to-theaters From Justin to Kelly garnered shockingly bad reviews, winning several awards you definitely don’t want to win and, including the Razzie for “Worst Musical of Our First 25 Years” and another for something deeply unfortunately titled the “Governor’s Award for Distinguished Under-Achievement in Choreography.” Kelly, understandably, has attempted to scrub all evidence of this movie from the annals of human existence.

When asked by Rolling Stone if she would “burn all the existing copies” of it, she responded, “No, I think I would have to own it first. But that is something I will look into.”

Whoa! She also recently revealed that she spent a tearful and ultimately hour on the phone with Idol creator Simon Fuller trying to get him to bag the movie, and that now that she is a proud mama, she plans to let her one-year-old daughter see From Justin to Kelly exactly never.

“I have a little joke with our nanny, because she told me she loves that movie. She was like, ‘My roommate and I used to watch it all the time! I’m totally going to show your daughter From Justin to Kelly.’ I’m like, ‘I will fire you.'”

Kelly Clarkson is not playing around with this one, people. Fortunately, I am not currently employed by Kelly Clarkson (note to Kelly Clarkson, who I assume reads this: if you are hiring for anything, please let me know and I will provide a resume and cover letter upon request, thank you for your consideration), so as From Justin to Kelly earned itself a few last wisecracks in coverage of the recent announcement that Idol will be cancelled after its upcoming 15th season, I naturally thought, OK, how bad can it be? If I can tolerate any movie, it probably has to be this one, right? Thanks to iTunes and a four-hour flight from Dallas to Sacramento over Memorial Day weekend, here’s what I found out.

First Impressions: $2.99 SD, or $3.99 HD. Hmmmm. Fuck it, I’m splurging. Justin’s hair alone looks like it merits the most detail my device is capable of rendering.

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Just from the splash page, I could not be more excited for what appears to be an absolutely delightful time capsule. Even the looks they chose for the promo art somehow managed to be ones that would age poorly and now appear jarringly dated: Kelly, rocking a baby tee and the Rachel popularized by Jennifer Aniston, and Justin, rocking the Sideshow Bob popularized by, well, Sideshow Bob. Also: run time of 81 minutes, including credits! From the jump, the producers are barely making an effort to disguise this as anything other than a blatant cash grab (not a successful one; it’s approaching $5 million as of this writing).

0:12: Intro credits. Here we go. Shouts out to the good people in seats A and B who will probably look over at me at least five times apiece during the remainder of this flight and wonder what the hell I’m watching, and then silently kind of consider asking if they can borrow one of my earbuds.

0:38: Kelly opens, singing to a windowless Texas bar with two people in it, one of whom is fast asleep. The other one, Anorexic Matthew McCongauhey (“Luke”; sure, I guess, he kind of looks like a Luke) leaps to his feet, clapping wildly. He wastes no time in trying to cajole her into a date, and, yes, you guessed correctly, it’s not going anywhere. This dude is far, far too thirsty. Kelly demures. “I’m just not interested in you that way,” she says shyly but firmly as she walks away. Luke may be down, but he is certainly not out. “Well maybe not yet! But I’m Hurricane Luke, and pretty soon I’ll be back to blow you over!” Poor Luke. Little does Kelly know he’s just one sandwich away from starring in True Detective.

1:34: Kelly’s two girlfriends show up while she’s wrapping up her shift. They need a ride to spring break, and guess what! Kelly has a car! What say you, Kelly? A quick Google Maps search reveals that it’s a 19-hour drive from Houston to Miami (and, of course, longer from points further West), but I guess there wasn’t quite enough room in the budget for a professional cartographer and/or  a human over the age of 12 who knew how to use MapQuest.

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1:53: Kelly is not so hot on this idea, prudishly calling it not her “scene.” It’s just so “degrading,” and “all the guys are after one thing!” The blonde one’s immediate, nonplussed response: “So?” Respect.

1:56: On a scale of one to Frank Underwood’s bizarre Southern drawl that doesn’t exist anymore, these girls’ Texas accents are at a 19.

1:58: The racial composition of this Girlz Friend Trio is blatantly ripped straight from Britney’s Crossroads, which came out just the year before, except this time, the Taryn Manning White Brunette Girl role gets to be in charge. Kelly’s sidekicks are Alexa and Khia, the latter of which is just, wow, an unbelievably bad choice given the rather notable (and timely!) pop culture history of that name. This is the exact reason that all character names chosen by older white screenwriters first need to be vetted by a class of middle school-aged boys.

2:04: On that note, “Alexa from Texas” doesn’t return a particularly flattering set of Google search results, either. No, I’m not linking to it.

2:38: You’re not going to believe this, but Kelly caved and decided to go to Miami after all. Kelly is singing “Vacation” in the background as we get shots of South Florida beaches. The style and production sounds jarringly like everything Lea Michele sang on Glee, and I’m having the same reaction I had then, too: I like this song just fine, but I’ve also definitely never thought, You know what would make this better? Kelly Clarkson singing it.

2:56: YES.

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3:31: Stock photos of vacationers. More Go-Gos. A couple butts. This Miami Beach spring break is so wonderfully 2003. A present-day remake of this movie would prominently feature a lot more Skrillex montages and a LOT more drugs.

3:48: Kelly starts to unload their suitcases at the motel; Alexis and Khia are having none of that and promptly drag her off to the beach. Listen, Kelly, this whole movie is strictly a run-out-the-clock operation. We do not have screen time to waste on you doing things that sensible people would do.

4:24: Justin makes his first appearance, wasting no time in badly delivering bad dialogue: “Dude, this year’s spring break is going to ROCK!” Speaking of rocking things, Justin appears to be sporting freshly bleached cargo shorts and white sneakers for this spring break. I assume he’s crushed that he left his best string of puka shells at home today. They really would have brought the outfit together.

4:44: Justin’s crew is composed of two other guys. First, Bro, who immediately refers to the trio as the “Pennsylvania Posse” with the same overzealousness that Chris Berman uses when he’s had five minutes to come up with a clever nickname for a random Patriots running back who reels off three TDs in a week and is never heard from again. Bro can’t wait for all the crazy parties, where hopefully he’ll learn that his shirt is actually equiped with buttons.


4:56: Second, Eddie. It takes only a glance at Eddie to tell that he’s here to be a nerd and do nerd things and say nerd things like “I’m not going to the whipped cream bikini contest. I’m lactose intolerant!” (That was not a joke; that actually happened; Eddie is so practical.) Absolutely no mention of how in the world Bro and Justin decide to include Eddie in the Pennsylvania Posse instead of stuffing him into lockers or something.

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5:09: Great news, Eddie is not here to meet randoms, he explains. In fact, he’s been “cyberchatting” with a “girl on the Internet” for some time now, and he excitedly characterizes her “web page” as “really well designed.” Manti Te’o thinks this is going to go great.

6:03: A wonderful stock spring break shot in which everyone is facing a stage, no one is touching one another, and everyone is providing the same tepid feedback you give when a conference speaker asks how you are and then follows it up with, “I can’t HEAR you out there! Are you ready for an action-packed sales conference today!?”


6:07: Rappper: “East Coast, are you with me? West Coast, are you with me? Everybody, are you with me?” I guess we’re with you…seriously, does no one here have any drugs? This rapper is bringing a level of enthusiasm usually reserved for hostage videos. Which, actually, appearing in public in From Justin to Kelly would probably cause most rappers to feel like that.

Directors: “Is this what kids having fun looks like?”
6:51: First song of the movie! An “oh boy it’s spring break and we are ready to party but maybe find love but probably just party” song. The chorus sounds a lot like 112’s “Dance With Me,” which you should just go listen to right now to preemptively cleanse your palate of the rest of the music that will show up during this move.

 All the girls can be shakin’ in the bounce tonight
Gonna do it like we do when the bounce is right
If it’s cool we can rock until the morning light
Can you feel the vibe?

“First you gotta put your neck into it…WAIT NO NOT THAT PLEASE NO”
6:52: Yep, Alexa is definitely the hussy of the trio as she breaks out some lyrics and moves that would definitely earn a “Make space for the Lord” reprimand from a parent chaperone at your average Catholic school dance. Give it to us, Alexa:

Hey there sweet thing
I’m feelin’ an attraction
Are you lookin’ for distraction?
Well you found it here in me

7:16: Justin and Eddie sing some dialogue. Eddie, we really need to talk about that hat.

Eddie: Did that girl just look my way?
Justin: Look like she just wants to play, so go over.
Eddie: No I’ll stay, ’cause I don’t know just what to say

7:31: I have no idea why but I was genuinely not expecting such intricate choreography. I’m delighted. This movie is already officially the whitest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to three Dave Matthews Band concerts AND have to look in the mirror every morning.

8:07: Wide shot of the dancers and we see that Justin is pretty much the only one wearing a shirt. While the studio’s hair budget was extensive, there just wasn’t quite enough room for a couple of personal training sessions.


8:20: Kelly and Justin finally cross paths and give us the first sexy dance of the afternoon. Justin appears to have taken his dancing lessons entirely from marionette puppets. Meanwhile, the men use the classic “pull the girl toward you with the beach towel” move that you should probably never attempt in public unless you want to keep a minimum distance from playgrounds for the rest of your life.

“Sir, why the beret?” “HARD TO SAY.”
8:49: I assume Kelly’s mom said something to her on her way out the door about watching out for boys on spring break, but I have a feeling that if she saw Justin dancing she would be like, “Oh, no, I didn’t mean…well he’s…sure, he’s harmless.”

9:01: Dance break featuring robberbladers in a halfpipe! Are we sure this isn’t a 1993 period piece after all?

9:32: This entire movie so far is a Glee-themed Abercrombie & Fitch infomercial.


10:29: Song-and-dance #1 ends. We go back to the Pennsylvania Posse, where the Bro is providing a detailed play-by-play of the various moves he’s planning on putting on the honeys this week. Eddie, fresh off his cold feet during the song, is looks genuinely crestfallen as he plaintively explains, “I have no moves,” a line that is also, coincidentally, the title of my forthcoming memoir.

10:42: Never one to leave his pal feeling down, Bro has taken it upon himself to provide for Eddie game-spitting instructions in rap form, with Justin beatboxing. Bro’s timing and delivery both bear an uncanny resemblance to Kevin G in Mean Girls.

So dude
You wanna pick up chicks
I’ll give you the secret
You want mad phone numbers
And make them beg you to keep it
You’ll be heart breakin’
Better yet heart bustin’
Just follow me and Justin
And soon they’ll be lustin’ for you

10:47: Bro inexplicably ends this rap by mooning the girls nearest to him. This is a musical abortion.

Don’t…no please don’t do tha — dammit.
10:49: Bro’s name is Brandon, which, of course it is.

11:31: We have a sexy lady cop on the beat! She is not so down with Bro’s mooning act. He compliments her eyes; she pauses, smiles bashfully, offers him her number, and walks away. Bro’s joy quickly turns into dismay as he looks down to see that said number is, in fact, a ticket. ZING.

12:40: Parallel scenes in which each trio is unwinding in their respective hotel rooms, the girls gushing to Kelly how cute Justin seemed and Kelly bashfully suggesting that she has no interest in him (I bet you don’t, Kelly). Meanwhile, over in the Pennsylvania Posse Penthouse, Justin exclaims how he felt a “real connection” during his thirty seconds of singing and dancing with Kelly. His boys scoff at the idea, telling him he needs to focus and get after a lot of chicks this week, bro. Sounds like a real pair of conflicts for the two to overcome during the next 68 minutes.

13:28: An actual line of dialogue that Justin just said: “She’s real special, man. I’m gonna find her.” We are not even trying here with respect to character and/or plot development.

13:42: Eddie bemoans the motel rotary phone’s implications for his ability, or lack thereof, to connect with his Lennay Kekua. “No buttons! How am I going to log on?” No one under age 14 has any clue what that means, by the way.

“I can’t make this a hotspot!”
14:15: The boys take a walk down to the beach, casually stopping to admire a break dancer who appears to be dancing by himself, without music, for no reason. I’d make more fun of this but I wanted to be able to do that shit so badly. Shouts out to every male between ages 25 and 29 who has ever ended up with bruised hips after attempting an ill-advised worm at a recent wedding.

14:44: The girls are down at the beach too, and the movie is making very clear that Justin and Kelly are still thinking of one another, or at least that they should have exchanged numbers or even introduced themselves. Asmusic starts again, they both begin to demonstrate very subpar proficiency at navigating through a crowd and simultaneously lip-synching in an even remotely convincing manner.

15:27: With his red slim-fit T-shirt and khaki shorts, I can’t decide if Justin looks more like a Target model or the most overeager young Target store manager ever.


15:55: GOOD LORD, FIND EACH OTHER ALREADY, HE’S THE ONE WITH THE GIANT BROWN LOOFAH FOR HAIR, HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN BE AT THIS PARTY

16:30: Update, they’re still fucking walking.

16:48: Ah, the classic “Kelly looks soulfully off into the distance in the foreground as Justin looks soulfully off into the distance in the other direction in the background” shot. Cinematography for this movie heavily influenced by One Tree Hill. The music ends without the two making a connection. I guess they could have actually asked for each other’s contact information instead of doing all that dancing earlier, but that would have made far too much sense.


17:25: We find out a little more about the boys; Justin, Brandon, and JSA run a business called “BRJ Parties,” which throws events all week long during spring break. Somehow they manage to get this done from Pennsylvania, while being college students, in 2003.

17:36: Justin’s role in BJR Parties is the keeper of the wristbands, the staple of every college frat party you’ve ever been to. No wristband, no admission, and definitely no drinks. I have friends who addressed this problem by purchasing different color wristbands in bulk from party supply stores, and every weekend they would just pick the appropriate color once they arrived at the party du jour and identified the wristband of choice. I concede those friends might have had a drinking problem.

Justin’s got the goods on spring break, and for once this actually doesn’t mean drugs.
17:51: Brandon, Eddie at his side, confidently tells a bikini-clad girl (who has no lines and functions as a mute prop) that he would love to get her number and take her out on the water sometime. Brandon and his sidekick remain completely unaware of the giant, bald-headed, vaguely-white-supremacist-looking boyfriend standing directly behind him. Naturally, Brandon shoves the wristbands into a bewildered Eddie’s arms and runs off, leaving a terrified-looking Eddie to deal with Fat Mad Guy. Getting the crap beat out of him so soon in the week is not going to help Eddie’s chances if/when he ever tracks down Lady Catfish. Hijinks!

Bonus points for Eddie’s flip-up shades. So practical!
18:17: Girls evidently really, really want to go to BRJ Parties events, and to escape the mob of grabby hands Justin escapes into the bathroom, only to find — it’s the women’s room! More classic hijinks. You’re not going to believe this, but Kelly happens to be in there. She doesn’t miss a beat: “Do you always come to women’s rooms?” Smooth line, under pressure; she deserves a fist pump for that one. Kelly discusses how she feels that these parties are degrading; Justin reluctantly admits to her that he organizes said parties. Ouch.


18:45: As wristband-thirsty ladies scratch with mounting desperation at the door, not unlike a grip of cats eager to come in from the rain, Kelly suggests that Justin escape via the tiny bathroom window. Justin: “My hair won’t even fit through that.” I’m kind of ashamed, but I actually laughed at that. Hey, iTunes said it was a comedy!

“We’re going to need a bigger window.”
18:52: I need an endless loop of Justin careening out of the bathroom window and collapsing in a heap in the mud.


19:07: This was apparently a very charming incident for Kelly, and, as she walks out the bathroom door, she decides to saucily write her number on a paper towel using lipstick and toss it out the window. Justin picks it up with glee, only to find that it landed squarely in a puddle, rendering Kelly’s number just another sad, limp, pink-tinged paper towel. NOOOOOOOOOO.

20:09: We are cutting to Khia (no, not that Khia; this is a family-friendly site) at a beachfront club, who spills a bit of tropical cocktail on herself. A dashing, charming gentlemen arrives at her side with a towel and soda water, like there was a whole lot of cleaning to do when she’s wearing a bikini and all. Giggling and blushing, she is clearly taken with this mysterious, laundry-conscious stranger, but the camera pans out to the club manager, who orders “Carlos” to keep picking up drinks! So begins the portion of this movie that serves as an extended social commentary thoughtfully dissecting the class issues related to the culture of spring break escapism in which wealthy college students treat low-income, blue-collar beachfront towns as their personal playgrounds while remaining oblivious to the real needs of the community around them.


21:22: Just kidding; back to Justin, who smirks when some random hussy walks by and glowingly calls him out as the “Mayor of Spring Break.” Not sure whether this title goes above or below “Target Team Lead” on his resume.

21:32: My flight’s beverage service comes by. Khia’s mistake fresh in my mind, I do not order a tropical cocktail.

“Wait, is my double-shift about to start, dog?”
21:41: Justin catches a huge break when he spots Alexa, who he recognizes as Kelly’s friend, at a bar. He asks her for Kelly’s number, which is 1) a total creep move and 2) kind of a slap in the face to Alexa, no? He explains that, no, it’s cool, she already gave him her number, and he would already be calling her but for the aforementioned lipstick-water fiasco. Alexa is taking this request remarkably well for someone who’s made it very clear that she’s out to get with as many dudes as possible this week.

21:45: I spoke too soon. Alexa gives Justin her number in response to his request for Kelly’s number. Can’t decide if I blame this situation on Kelly’s choice of lipstick as a writing utensil, Kelly’s poorly aimed throw of the number into the puddle, or Justin’s inexplicable failure to call out something to her like, “Hey, you accidentally threw your number into lipstick, can you just tell me what it is so that I can put this into my cell phone right now and we can avoid this entire hassle?” Probably a combination thereof.

22:11: Justin starts texting “Kelly” as he sits dreamy-eyed on the motel room bed. Brandon and Eddie, sensing the collapse of one-third of the foundation upon which sits the mighty Pennsylvania Posse, try to remind Justin of just how many girls are in town and that he’s, you know, the Mayor of Spring Break and all. Justin is having none of it: “This girl was different.” I just loved how we hung out in the women’s bathroom that one time. I’ve never had a date quite like that before.

22:28: All I wrote here in my notes was “:( 😦 :(” but I think this is where “Kelly” (Evil Alexa) replied to Justin’s date solicitation by telling him that she wasn’t interested. This is some high-grade backstabbing here, and without any hint of provocation that we’ve seen so far. I feel like there’s a Kelly-Alexa backstory we’re missing here. Did they get in a fight during the drive down? Could they not agree on whether to stop at Checkers or Burger King? I feel like this is one of those Bachelor episodes where the producers edit out relevant facts so that it just appears that one of the women just starts acting crazy and then has a sobbing nervous breakdown in the hallway right before the Rose Ceremony starts.

to be fair, he was probably just fine going back to playing Snake
22:45: Saboteur Alexa rejects more than one date request by Justin in short order. “Not interested.” This girl continues to inexplicably and kind of sadistically torpedo Kelly’s chances with Justin. I feel Kelly’s and Justin’s takeaways from this week, are, respectively, to always carry a pen and to just program numbers into your phone immediately. The camera pans to Khia, who senses something is amiss with whatever Alexa is doing over there. The PLOT THICKENS.

23:33: Khia can’t be too concerned about this, though, as she’s back to chasing Carlos, who is still on the job, dutifully cleaning up empty glasses, which symbolize the emptiness of the hole left in the local economy by primarily white partygoers in towns with unsustainably fragile seasonable economies that cannot function properly without the fickle tourism industry.


23:38: Khia shyly gives him her number. We are all about numbers on this vacation, which we have already seen is a wildly risky and inefficient way of handling the game this week. This movie needs more Tindr.

23:39: Carlos’ verbatim, immediate response to receiving Khia’s number: “Uh, yeah, I work all the time.” He shakes his head dismissively and carries on. Working theory: Carlos is racist.

23:41: I need Carlos’ man-skirt ASAP.

24:41: I don’t mean to shock you, but Carlos decided within 30 seconds of rejecting that he’s going to take Khia out after all. They walk down a barely-lit alley and under at set of train tracks — we get it, writers, Carlos is taking us a little off the beaten path here, if you know what I mean (poor people) — as she nervously asks, “Are you sure this is the right place?” WHERE ARE THE DRUNK COLLEGE KIDS LIKE ME THAT I CAME HERE TO CAVORT WITH

24:59: Carlos’ destination tonight is his favorite salsa bar! I appreciate that this movie is going out of its way to highlight the local culture and flavor of South Florida — not just the beaches and bars but the real people, too.


24:53: Sexy Salsa Dance Break.

26:27: I bet Nivea and Amerie (Ameriie?) were really mad when they were turned down for the role of Khia.

27:21: Cut to next day. Justin sad that Kelly rejected him; Brandon telling him to get over it; Eddie, wearing….that.

Eddie apparently robbed a Tommy Bahama outlet before this week
27:48: Carlos and Khia are apparently now hanging out together all the time after their successful first date, and Kelly is very jealous of all the attention that Carlos is lavishing on his new girlfriend. Fortunately for her, Justine tries to text her again; unfortunately, that text goes straight to Alexa and her cold, black heart.  This time, though, said heart feels a twinge of “maybe it’s not so great that I’m being an unconscionably horrible person and terrible friend for absolutely no reason.” She impishly grabs Kelly’s arm. “You want to see him? I know where we can find him! Come on!” Judas, JUDAS.

27:51: It does not at all occur to Kelly that it sure is odd that Alexa seems very clued in to Justin’s whereabouts at all times, particularly right after her phone buzzes.

27:56: Ohhhhh boy! Turns out when Alexa pledged to bring Kelly to Justin, she did not reveal that the price is Kelly participating in a whipped-cream bikini contest in which Justin, Mayor of Spring Break, BRJ Parties, is the judge! Kelly is furious. She is NOT going to be part of this degrading spectacle. What a wet blanket. Alexa and Khia, enablers, laugh and tell her to go enjoy herself.

YOU AND YOUR FRINGED FUSCHIA COVERUP NEED TO COME WITH US
27:59: Oh, okay, well two giant dudes suddenly appear and bodily drag Kelly, one on each arm, to the stage. This is admittedly alarmingly non-consensual, and no one seems to care. I’m uncomfortable.

“…man, I really could use some new friends.”
28:32: Stop me if you saw “Kelly gets angry at Justin for being involved with something so juvenile, because how could he, and she pretends to begin to participate in the whipped-cream application on herself before turning the tables ever so cleverly and smashing a handful of whipped cream in his face before storming off the stage” coming. Okay, great.

  

Brandon LOVES it. The poor extras who actually had to put on whipped cream bikinis are just cold.
30:10: Cutting to Eddie, who so far has had no role in or connection to the movie’s plot whatsoever and seems to be here purely for Nerdy Guy With Internet Girlfriend comic relief. And boy, does he deliver! He’s standing around looking like a very nervous undercover trying to buy drugs when three pretty jacked guys recruit him to play beach volleyball, telling him they need one more, which is a hilarious request given the probably hundreds of people within earshot of them right now who would be better choices for an athletic event than Undercover Eddie.

30:17: Eddie at first politely declines, sheepishly explaining that he is waiting to meet someone (which sounds way better than “I have no athletic ability whatsoever”), but they are very persuasive, and Eddie is a total pushover, so he goes with it. A catastrophic sequence ensues: Eddie takes a misjudged volleyball straight to the face, while the camera simultaneously pans wide to reveal Internet Girlfriend sadly looking around and waiting in the very spot where he was just standing. Love can be so fickle.


30:19: Not clear how Eddie managed to make contact with Internet Girlfriend when we have established that they do not have Internet access and also smartphones do not exist, but a half-hour in to this abomination, we’re just along for the ride at this point.

31:31: Meanwhile, Justin has somehow tracked Kelly down a few hours later despite the fact that, still unbeknownst to either of them, he still doesn’t have her number. Justin may be too preoccupied with the bad impression he made on Kelly to patch up this plot hole, as he’s adorably stumbling all over himself, spilling hot sauce on her lap while trying to feed her a burger from his food truck of choice. THIS is actually a time when we need Carlos and the soda water (file Carlos and the Soda Water to “good ideas for band names”).


32:38: Cut to Brandon, cleaning up the whipped-cream bikini contest that continued sans Prude Kelly and our favorite Target Manager. Brandon, talking to no one in particular, shares that he is very much looking forward (sex) to meeting a Swedish girl named Inge later on. His excitement over the bills he’s counting and/or his hotly anticipated Scandinavian date night quickly turns to horror, though, as the lady cop returns. Brandon didn’t have a permit for a cash-only whipped-cream bikini contest on the beach! Another ticket. BRJ Parties needs to make some significant investments in its compliance budget for next spring break.


33:07: Kelly, charmed by the hot sauce spill, has decided to give Justin another shot, and he’s pulling out all the stops: he’s taking her out on a boat, at sunset, and wearing a fresh pair of bleached khaki cargo shorts and a cream-colored track jacket that inexplicably says “SECURITY” on the back. Maybe if he had worn that to the whipped-cream bikini contest, Brandon wouldn’t have blown further into BRJ Parties’ citations allotment for the week.


34:00: Now that they’re firmly out on the water, Kelly takes this opportunity to tell Justin for the first time that, by the way, she gets seasick very easily. Just when you thought Justin’s make-up date was about to backfire horribly, the music fades in slowly, Sexy Boat Song Time begins, and all is well.

DON’T LOOK ME IN THE EYES WHILE WE SING
34:12: Justin gives Kelly a mid-song hall of fame lecherous stare. Maybe Kelly was right about what all the boys — especially the Mayor — want on spring break.

Here is your nightmare fuel for the day, okay, bye
35:25: “I mostly come out here to think,” says Justin softly, unable to convince even himself. Wait, how often does Justin go out on this water again? Isn’t he in college in Pennsylvania? He comes down once a year for spring break, right? Ugh.

35:47: Introspective Justin is trying way too hard to appear sincere. He constantly looks like he’s straining to read cue cards, only…there are no cue cards. Quick, start singing! Good.

36:21: The lip-synching in this movie is shockingly bad in both its effort and in execution. Their voices are straining in the song record, but they’re unwilling or unable (or can’t be bothered) to reenact the same effects for the camera, so they almost have the appearance of creepy people who move their lips while they are reading silently.

36:50: Fade to timeless sunset scene, still ruined by that unconscionable outfit, though I also just created an eBay alert for “cream track jacket security justin target mayor.”


37:16: Cut to the kitchen of Carlos’ restaurant, where Carlos is hard at work and Khia is, wait, what the hell, what is Khia doing back there? She’s dressed in street clothes, just sitting around and talking to Carlos as he frantically washes dishes and prepares food. Khia does not seem to have a good grip on work time vs. appropriate fun time.

what are you say– oh man, I am about to be so fired
37:21: The evil boss probably correctly decides that this random spring breaker shouldn’t be sitting around in an industrial kitchen and orders Carlos to get back to work. Before Carlos can say anything normal, like “Will do,” Khia opens fire without warning. “You work him so hard every day and night, you barely pay anything, and you don’t even do overtime!” Minimum wage and overtime, all in one sentence! Apparently Khia is a very dedicated Labor Studies major at My Neck, My Back State University.

JK maybe that moustache is your nightmare fuel after all
37:31: Dammit, Khia. The evil boss decided that this overeager amateur community organizer was not worth his time and promptly fires Carlos with the classic “Take the rest of the night off — in fact, take forever off” zinger. Now Carlos has a Fair Labor Standards Act retaliation claim to boot! Employment lawyers are very into this movie all of a sudden.

37:42: Carlos is furious; Khia is crushed. Her explanation: “I wasn’t thinking!” Unclear if this applies in particular to this scene or to her decision to appear in this film in the first place.

38:26: Back to Justin and Kelly, who appear to be wrapping up a successful date, until Kelly goes in for the handshake in a way that actually causes me physical pain, and also love is dead. 

No no NO NO NOOOOOOO
39:07: Alexa, by herself, strides arrogantly to the front of a club line and demands to be let in for free. A long long of angry girls protests, but to no avail. Alexa waltzes in gleefully and promptly runs into a waitress with a tray full of cocktails that have the color and viscosity of blood; the cocktails spill all over Alexa, who suddenly looks a lot like Carrie on prom night, as the long line of angry girls howls with joy.

I MURDERED ALL MY CLASSMATES
39:09: No more comes from this scene. It was apparently just in there to have someone spill something on Alexa. It’s also possible that at some point this was actually an element of the plot, and it was a last-minute cutting room insertion to clear the 80-minute run time mark. I’m down with either one. Alexa sucks.

39:30: Eddie eagerly explains to Brandon his plan to tan his “Adonis-like” body in preparation for  his highly anticipated meet-up with Internet Girlfriend, whose name he still does not know and whose contact information he still does not possess. 90% of the problems in this movie so far could have been solved with a smartphone (the 10% is having a best friend who sucks and hates you).

Nah dude, that skin is straight-up milky
39:34: Eddie: “My skin is not milky! It’s alabaster!” Been there, my friend. Welcome to my nightmare.

39:57: Brandon gets another ticket from the lady cop on the beach. They’re not even bothering to tell us his offense this time. Curious to see the kind of business BRJ Parties could get involved with in lock-up if they eventually decide to hold him overnight or something.

40:27: Eddie meticulously coats himself in sun-related products and sits down on the beach, opening his arms wide to the sky in a sun salute: “Bronze me!” I’m wondering if perhaps this plan will not go as well as he expects.


40:55: The girls are lounging on the beach and discussing their successes (read: boys) during the week. Alexa is particularly pouty that she still doesn’t have a boyfriend for the week. As the girls discuss the dynamics of their friend group, it quickly becomes clear that Alexa is such a terrible person due to her crippling insecurity. “Kelly is the nice one, Khia is the smart one, and me…” She trails off. I’m admittedly starting to feel bad for her.

40:57: Kidding. Fuck Alexa.

41:30: Khia and Kelly embark on some good old-fashioned passive-aggresive slut-shaming, suggesting that perhaps Alexa is too into going out and flirting with boys such that none of them will take her seriously.  This hypothesis makes Alexa furious, likely because she knows it is totally true. Alexa hits them with some hall of fame side-eye, and she angrily picks up her phone and, as “Kelly,” cancels the upcoming date with Justin. Mind you, Kelly and Justin have met up several times now and still have no idea that they don’t have each other’s phone numbers.

DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE EYES
42:10: Whatever conversation just happened I missed it because oh God, Justin. Those pants.


42:30: Eddie wakes up from his purported Adonis Transformation Session. You’re right, it went poorly. I’ve been there, my friend. I’ve been there.

Make-up for this scene was just “get some self-tanner from CVS”
42:56: Alexa needs some time to reflect on her life and where it all went wrong and decides that a solo trip to the nightclub is the appropriate place for a little introspection and probably will not provide opportunities for her to make more bad decisions that reinforce her repuation. She’s ordering cosmos, sitting at the bar alone, and, yes, singing.

Who am I supposed to be?
A girl who stays at home alone?
No, baby needs a fantasy
Someone who’ll never let me go
Could I be forgiven
For how I want my life to be?

43:31: The theme of the song is how she wishes she weren’t such a hussy; she chooses to accompany it by literally dancing on the bar.


43:51: Yeah, that’s a good start on “maybe being a little more prudent, Alexa.” I still could not care less about Alexa’s feelings and/or this entire subplot.

I’m not obsessed with boys see look at all the oh crap okay
44:30: The collective quality of the singing, dancing, and production of all the songs in this movie vaguely remind me of ARK Music, the venture that gave us Rebecca Black and a host of other rich kids whose parents paid a couple grand for the company to manufacture a single and a music video. This movie would be at least three times better if it were re-made starring Rebecca Black and Fat Usher.

45:36: Fresh off a song and in a good frame of mind, Alexa, as “Kelly,” texts Justin and cancels Justin and Kelly’s plans to meet at the beach, instead inexplicably summoning him to the bar where she’s at right now. Kelly is nowhere to be seen. I have no idea what Alexa’s plan here is, but it’s not going to go well.

45:47: Hahahaha. Alexa to Justin, upon establishing that Kelly must be ditching Justin: “Well, why don’t you wait here with me, instead?” So her plan was just to go for it, then. Alexa keeps finding new ways to be the worst possible friend Kelly could have taken on spring break.

46:03: Sad Alone Kelly is waiting all night for Justin at the beach, unaware that both of them are victims of Evil Alexa. Finally, Khia comes to Kelly’s rescue, encouraging her to forget about Justin once and for all and to just go have some fun. Kelly reluctantly agrees.

46:13: If this movie doesn’t end with Alexa getting the Regina George treatment at the hands of a speedboat, I’m going to be very disappointed.

46:54: Cut to the boys’ hotel room, where Eddie is moping around, slowly coming to grips with the fact that he’ll never find Internet Girlfriend. Apparently they never thought to form some kind of contingency plan or planned meet-up before actually going down to Miami for the week. There’s a knock on the door, and ominous music plays as Eddie, not expecting any visitors, cautiously approaches it. Just as he arrives at the peephole, the door flies open and knocks him back onto the ground, and an enraged kind-of-older man in a sleeveless shirt who we have never seen before clocks Eddie square in the face. Turns out that this guy found out that Brandon is out with his girlfriend, Inge (remember, the Swedish girl Brandon said he had met earlier? I absolutely cannot blame you if you don’t remember and/or don’t care), and the intruder has mistaken Eddie for Brandon. The writers clearly spent between 8 and 12 seconds on this plot point.


47:14: Holy shit, look at this guy. Left out of this PG-rated movie is for sure that he did a ton of coke before heading over to the motel. As Eddie tries to calm him down with some deft questioning,Coke Man experiences a wild mood swing (again, due to the coke) and asks Eddie if he wants to go get a drink. Terrified, Eddie decides that this is better than being beaten into a pulp by a strange older man in a drug-induced rage, and acquiesces.

AUGHHHHHH YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH BLOW AUGHHHHHHH
47:56: At the bar, Coke Man begins to come down from his high and profusely thanks Eddie for being there and for listening to him talk about his feelings. I have no idea where this subplot is going or why I should care, but at least Eddie seems safe now. Eddie, timidly: “You know this is not going any further than friendship, right?” ZING. A little gratuitous homophobia in there, you know, for the kids.


48:35: Meanwhile, back at the club, Justin is trying to let down Alexa in the easiest way possible, explaining that he thinks she is great, but that he is “not the party boy” that she wants and that he’s really committed to Kelly. Remember, THEY MET YESTERDAY.

48:58: Probably stung both by rejection and also by Justin’s totally fair assessment that she is a shallow, vapid creature who only wants party boys, Alexa exercises the nuclear option: “Kelly didn’t tell you about her boyfriend at home, did she?”
48:59: Whore. Whore. WHORE.

49:01: Justin seems hurt, but also very suspicious of Alexa’s motives, since she, you know, just five minutes ago blatantly tried to get him to forget about Kelly and hook up with her instead. “You’re lying,” he blurts out. Alexa: “Am I?” Alexa neglected to prepare for rebuttal, it seems. Justin, seemingly unconvinced but nonetheless hurt, storms out angrily.

49:25: Evil Alexa, alone at the bar once again, takes an evil sip of her cocktail and takes her evilness to the next level by talking to herself in the kind of sinister monotone usually reserved for movies about serial killers. “How could you bless me with a perfect body and the gift of persuasion?” She asks to no one in particular. Her eyes narrow evilly, and she raises the phone to her evil ear to make an evil phone call. God, Alexa is evil.


49:54: This is cute. Coke Man and Eddie are still becoming best of friends at the tiki bar. Coke Man opens up about how, if he’s being honest, he admits that his relationship with Inge wasn’t particularly meaningful. “I’m not interested in what she says,” he confesses softly. Misogyny, this time, again, for the kids.

50:31: Coke Guy is just rambling now (maybe he did another line off-camera?), remarking how it’s the strangest thing that he’s sharing drinks with the very guy who stole his girlfriend away. Eddie is not denying this, for some reason. I would not be nearly so loyal to Brandon. If Brandon gets beaten up maybe he would rap less.

50:45: For just a moment, Coke Guy gets angry again and squeezes his tropical drink a little too hard (DRUGS FLOWING STRONG THROUGH THE VEINS). Finally, he decides he’s had enough and gives the very sunburned Eddie a very unwelcome hug. Eddie slumps over the bar in pain and defeat as the Internet Girlfriend passes by in the background. Foiled again!!

I just hate this citrus fruit-shaped drink receptacle SO MUCH SOMETIMES

noooooo she’s right behind you (and maybe in her 40s?)
 

51:18: Next day. Justin is back on the beach, still refusing to take off his shirt. Justin’s tan lines are going to be HORRIBLE by Saturday.

51:32: Music starts — Scorned Kelly and Supportive Khia are here, ready to sing, dance, party, be sexy, and make Justin rue the day he ever stood Kelly up on the beach! 

 51:34: OH LORD KELLY WHAT IS THAT


51:48: NO


51:59: THAT IS A SKIRT MADE ENTIRELY OF TIES


52:26: TIES


53:36: Working thesis: this upbeat song about moving on from bad love was the inspiration for “Since U Been Gone.”

53:56: Luke, the anorexic cowboy from the movie’s first few minutes, shows up at the conclusion of the song and plants one right on Kelly’s face. Luke appears to be wearing the exact hat he was wearing last week. Sure, I guess.


53:59: Aha. Alexa must have called Luke (the previously mentioned evil phone call) and summoned him to spring break as “Kelly’s boyfriend”! The heretofore undiscovered nuclear-nuclear option. Not even Linda Tripp was this bad of a friend.

54:12: Justin races over to defend Kelly’s honor. Kelly, still unwilling to na-na-na-na, phunk with Luke’s heart, frantically tries to explain to Justin that no, Luke isn’t her boyfriend, he’s just a sad guy in the bar who applauds her bad singing, but to no avail. Justin angry. Justin is FALLING for Alexa’s LIES.

54:14: Never one to back down from a pointless fight, Luke gets in Justin’s grill and calls him “Sideshow Bob.” On point, skinny Marlboro Man.


54:24: Hahahaha, okay, so Luke and Justin have for some reason decided to resolve their conflict by playing beanbag tag in hovercrafts on the water. Seriously. Whoever is able to throw more beanbags in the laundry basket in their opponent’s hovercraft wins Kelly’s heart, or something? Kelly is carrying on as if they’ve agreed to fight to the death with meat forks. “Luke, you don’t have to do this!” Luke is undeterred. If beanbag tag proficiency doesn’t show love, I don’t know what does.


54:27: This event absolutely occurred because the producers saw hovercrafts at some point during filming and decided, “Hey, that looks cool, let’s strain to somehow fit some of this into the movie!” I bet the original script actually called for Justin and Luke to duel with meat forks.

54:46: Never one to pass up a chance for BRJ Parties to make a quick buck, Brandon shows off his bookie skills and quickly sets odds for the duel: 2-1 Justin, 10-1 Luke. I think hovercraft beanbag tag is a crapshoot and don’t see how there can be such a material difference in skill, so my money is on Luke. I wave $10 at my iPad before remembering that I’m on an airplane and other people can see me.

54:48: I’m just going to say what we’re all thinking. Brandon has really, really tiny nipples.


55:07: All future disputes, irrespective of their scale and up to and including the Israel-Palestine conflict, should be resolved by hovercraft beanbag tag. Luke and Justin each successfully put home the first beanbag in the other’s basket (can’t decide how dirty that sounds; just going to let it go). 1-1, two passes to go.

55:35: Kelly on the beach looking really, really anxious. Unclear whether she’s concerned for their health or terrified of the fact that whoever wins this gets to take her home and display her like a mounted deer trophy or something.

55:56: Second pass, 2-2! The match will be decided on the third and final pass! Some legitimate tension here.

56:17: Oh shit. Justin, going for the win, attempts a very risky maneuver only to plow straight into the side of Luke’s hovercraft. Luke does a couple flips in the air and goes under. Lifeguards, unaware of the very dangerous beach activity going on in front of them, and the accompanying crowd of yelling onlookers, until this exact moment, sprint into the water to save Luke. Everyone on the beach becomes very somber, like they’re realizing that an impromptu extreme sports duel (cash bets welcomed!) wasn’t the best idea for conflict resolution or something.


56:30: Thankfully, it looks like Luke is going to make it, as he coughs up seawater and meekly sits down on the shore. Justin slowly removes his helmet as he realizes just how recklessly he’s acted in the name of love.


56:32: So…who got paid on that bet? I think Justin won. If you wreck, it seems like you lose automatically, right?

56:34: It’s not going to matter. The ladycop, ticket at the ready, sidles up alongside Brandon as he counts bills. This time, he’s not even fighting the inevitable. “My guess is gambling on hovercrafts is not so legal?” That’d be correct, Brandon. BRJ Parties is getting a lawyer on retainer next year.

56:49: I can’t believe we’re not even an hour into this horror show of a movie.

57:30: Carlos, fresh off his Khia-induced termination from employment at the fancy club, has scored a new job at a total hole in the wall. Khia somehow finds him and apologizes again, but he is having none of it, explaining that he’s not so thrilled to be scraping food off of plates for a few dollars an hour. He misses cleaning nonexistent spills off of women in bikinis, I assume.

“I…I hate it here.”
57:36: Carlos tells Khia to leave and not do any more damage than she’s already done. Khia is unable to understand why Carlos is so upset with her. She needs to use next year’s spring break to go on Habitat for Humanity.

58:39: An impassioned Carlos: “We want more from our lives, too! We need our jobs! You’re going to leave here at the end of the week, but some of us still have to be here and live here!” Finally, a critical analysis of the dynamics underlying the omnipresent social class tensions between vacationers and tourism industry employees. The writers presumably enjoyed a well-deserved off-screen high-five for this one. Khia, defeated, slinks out of the restaurant, never to see Carlos again.

59:01: Wait, where the hell is Eddie? Is he still stuck at the bar with Coke Man? Someone really needs to check on him.

59:23: Alexa is at a bar again with Justin. No one bothers to set the scene up or explain why Justin would ever agree to meet Alexa there, or anywhere. Alexa finally puts it all out there: “Justin, you deserve me.” JUST WHEN YOU THINK ALEXA HAS REACHED THE DEPTHS OF EVIL SHE FINDS NEW WAYS TO SURPRISE YOU.


59:45: Justin, committed as ever to Kelly, feebly tries to laugh it off, but she is having none of it and plants a kiss on him just as Kelly walks into the bar!

noooooooooooooo
59:49: Justin pulls away, but it’s too late; Kelly has already stormed off angrily, I assume to write “Behind These Hazel Eyes.” SO MANY MISUNDERSTANDINGS plague this movie! Meanwhile, Alexa is legitimately angry at Justin. “No one says no to me!” Kindness and empathy are not her strong suits. She might need Habitat for Humanity next year, too.

1:00:25: Khia, robbed of her beau Carlos, is sitting sadly in the motel room, probably thinking deeply about the role she and her friends play in the fragile seasonal economy of South Florida. You’re never going to believe this, but Carlos shows up at her door, proverbial hat proverbially in hand (no mention of how he had any idea where she was staying). He is contrite and is wearing a shirt that he definitely just bought at a Van Heusen clearance sale. “I’m sorry. You were right. I should have stood up for myself.” Yeah, man, it’s totally your fault that this college student waltzed into your workplace, told off your boss on your behalf, and lost you your job.

“I have a confession…I’m actually Robert Downey, Jr.”
1:00:28: He offers to take her out again, but they have to leave right now. Good thing Khia is already dressed and in full makeup.

nbd just hangin out
1:00:59: Oh shit, a fancy dinner ON the pool? Carlos NAILED this. Good thing he convinced Khia to come out after all, because otherwise he would be stuck with a really uncomfortable solo pooltop dinner! I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s going to know exactly where she stays after tonight, if you catch my drift. (Sex.)


1:01:04: Camera zooms out to show Kelly, walking along the beach alone, wistfully smiling at Carlos and Khia, who are happily engrossed in conversation over their lovely intimate dinner. No time to wonder how Kelly knew where this would be occurring, much less that it would be occurring at all, as Evil Alexa, looking mighty evil, silently and evilly emerges from the night. Wait, how did SHE know where this was happening? Evil knows all. 

 1:02:09: Good Lord. Kelly finally sort-of confronts Alexa by saying how angry she is that Alexa kissed Justin, and Alexa doubles down on her evilness, evilly explaining that Justin was using Kelly to get to Alexa this whole time! Kelly is shocked, but also immediately decides to believe this without asking any follow-up questions. Alexa is a legit sociopath.


1:02:45: Kelly accepts the “truth,” and feels grateful to have such a wonderful friend in Alexa. Ugh. They hug. Ugh. I keep hoping for Luke to come roaring up on the beach and mow Alexa down with his hovercraft.


1:03:17: It looks like the girls and Carlos are all in the same club together, sending spring break out with a bang. Not clear if Carlos and Khia have done the deed yet but probably soon.

1:03:23: Thank God, Eddie is indeed alive, and as time winds down he has resorted to desperately walking around the bar and asking women, “Are you Lindsay from the Internet?” This will be my opening line of choice from now on.


1:03:45: Determined to say his piece, Justin tracks down Kelly and company at the bar. He just wants to talk to her one more time! But Kelly turns on her heel and marches disdainfully away, and a chase ensues. While throwing people out of the way in his pursuit of Kelly, Justin doesn’t even recognize his sunburned pal, Eddie. I actually don’t think these alleged best friends have spoken in the last half-hour of the movie.

1:04:15: Justin, sporting crazy eyes, finally catches up to Kelly and confronts her. Why is she acting this way? Why won’t she listen? Kelly begins crying hysterically. Who can she trust anymore? Emotions of this scene likely serve as the inspiration for “Because of You.”

  
 1:04:19: Justin professes his love for Kelly; Kelly responds by recounting all the different times that Justin made plans with her this week only to blow her off. In her hysterical state she has not the faintest idea that perhaps her alleged BFF Alexa, who keeps making out with Justin and always seems to know where he is, might have something to do with all of these missteps.

1:04:21: Kelly’s critical thinking skills are matched, and then some, by Justin’s, as he recounts all the times that she blew him off this week. “What text messages? What text messages?!” He’s angry and hurt and probably embarrassed that he still can’t figure out what’s going on. “Game over,” he says, as he walks off into the night.

1:04:36: Sad Kelly walks back into the bar, probably through with Justin once and for all? (Nah). For a moment, it seems like Alexa is going to get away with the whole thing, but then she commits a classic, fatal mistake: dropping her phone. Kelly helpfully picks it up but, for some reason, also decides to rudely scroll through Alexa’s text messages while she’s at it. And suddenly, before Alexa can snatch it back, it all becomes clear.


1:04:37: NO.


1:04:38: EUREKA.

  
 1:04:39: THE JIG IS UP.

  
 1:05:15: KELLY KNOWS. She snarls and looks around furiously, presumably trying to locate a pair of meat forks.

1:06:10: Carlos and Khia look on in horror. Kelly asks how Alexa, her best friend, could ever do such a thing. Alexa: “I don’t know.” Strong defense. Wait, she’s not done. “I did not mean to hurt you, you have to believe me.” Hahahaha. Yeah, I’m sure you had some perfectly legitimate reason for posing as Kelly and trying to prevent her from finding true love with Justin this week, you evil backstabber.


1:06:17: Alexa, sensing that perhaps her argument is not going so well, plays the pity card. “I just want to be as good as you, Kelly!” Die in a fire, you foul temptress. Everyone sneers at Pariah Alexa and walks off in different directions; Kelly to the beach, and Carlos and Khia to the nearest motel.

1:07:18: Kelly walks along the beach, eyes downcast, deep in thought. The music starts. “Do you ever feel like you just can’t hold on?” Oh boy, here we go.


1:07:25: This sounds like a really, really shitty first draft of “Breakaway.”

1:07:46: Kelly’s matching eyeshadow, dress, and lip gloss game is very strong right now.

1:07:56: Fortunately, Kelly has this beach all to herself for this power ballad, because, you know, no one ever goes to the beach at night in Miami.

1:08:47: This song’s lyrics make absolutely no sense in context. Didn’t she just get her heart ripped into pieces? I feel like she pre-recorded all the music before she read the movie’s script, the directors found ways to integrate the other songs into the plot, and by the time they got here they only had one left and just decided, “Fuck it, we’ll make it work.”

Anytime you need love baby
I’m on your side (hey)
Just let me be the one
I can make it alright
Anytime you need love, baby
You’re in my heart
I can make it alright

1:09:17: The drama of Justin’s return — yes, you can’t believe it, but he is indeed back — is undercut by the grade-A predator look he shoots Kelly mid-lyrics. It’s like he can’t get in the right mindset for singing a duet unless he’s simultaneously making his partner feel very uncomfortable.


1:09:31: Music fades as Kelly swiftly recovers from the sheer terror that Justin just tried to instill in her. She hits him with the classic “Come here often?” Never fails to defuse an awkward situation.


1:09:46: Justin, smiling: “I was hoping I could leave with you tonight.” That was fast. Kelly, understandably nonplussed: “Um, what made you come back?”

1:09:47: “I did.” NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

  
1:09:51: Alexa, casually, in the same cadence as if she were ordering a hamburger or something: “Hey, I tried my hardest to break y’all up, but there’s something going on between you two.” You’re about four sociopathic lies too late, girl.

1:09:54: With a wry smile and a shrug: “It’s just fate. You two belong together.” Seriously, run into the fucking ocean, Alexa.

1:10:29: Justin and Kelly are finally giving the people what they want. Good, I guess. Seriously, how is this movie not over already.


1:11:01: Dramatic kiss. Fade into waterfall. My life (my life!) would suck (would suck!) withoooooouuuuuut youuuuuuuuuuuuu. Please, let the credits start rolling. Please?


1:11:14: Nope, it’s the next day, and we are back on the beach. Kelly is rocking a plastic turquoise flower on her belt. Did people do that in 2003? Yikes. Girl equivalent of the fashion statement made by puka shells. She looks like the last cut from the tryout for Village People backup dancers.


1:11:59: Eddie walking through the crowd, still sad and alone. I must have that shirt. Wait, who’s that?


1:12:01: No, not Internet Girlfriend. It’s Coke Man! He looks much happier than when we last saw him high as a kite, and he gratefully explains to Eddie that he indeed broke up with Inge and feels very at peace. Eddie just seems relieved that Coke Man does not seem to have any immediate plans punch him in the face again.


1:12:07: Coke Man’s scene ends. I still have no idea why the hell any of that subplot happened. Working thesis, Coke Man the director’s black sheep brother who really needed a quick movie part to keep his SAG insurance or something.

1:12:09: A fair lady sitting at the bar, having just overheard their conversation, compliments Eddie on what a caring friend he is. She then sighs mournfully and explains that she’s been waiting the whole weekend for a guy she met on the Internet. The writers, clearly realizing they were almost at 80 minutes, decided to not even try to work that detail in to any kind of organic conversation. I get that, though; I just want this to be over, too.

  
 1:12:36: Eddie puts it all together. They realize they have been looking for one another. They kiss passionately. Great. Do you, Eddie. Next time be sure you have access to an Internet cafe.

1:12:46: Seeking to very quickly wrap up other subplots that you already didn’t care about, the director cuts to Brandon, who is approached by the lady cop, who this time is wearing a Valentine’s Day-themed two-piece swimsuit and looking VERY into the shark-tooth surfer necklace that he picked up from PacSun last week. “I’m off duty now,” she says. Brandon doesn’t miss a beat. “Do you still have those handcuffs?” I can’t even bring myself to care how stupid this is.

It only took 91 tickets for her to realize what a good heart Brandon has.
1:12:59: Justin and Kelly are sharing a kiss when Alexa comes dramatically between the two, over-laughing at her own jokes like the third wheel in an eighth grade relationship, where the erstwhile best friend hasn’t quite accepted the fact that his best friend has a girlfriend. “None of that, come on, it’s the last day of spring break, y’all!” Alexa, it is WAY too soon for you to be joking about the couple you spent the last five days actively trying to destroy.


1:13:01: Kelly agrees to visit Justin in Pennsylvania, and Justin agrees to visit Kelly in Texas. I totally forgot this entire inane one-week love story is all for a long-distance relationship between a waiter and a student, 2000 miles apart, in 2003! For most teenage sweethearts in weeklong relationships, the odds are not strong, but remember that with these two, “it’s fate.”

1:13:04: Sounds like we’ve got one more song: a kids-bop cover of “That’s The Way” by K-Ci and the Sunshine Band. I attempt to cut my ears off with my car keys.

1:13:13: STRIKE EARLIER COMMENT RE EDDIE’S SHIRT, I MUST HAVE CARLOS’ SHIRT

1:13:45: Justin kind of looks at Kelly like he loves her but also that he’s going to eat her. Trivia, this scene inspired the entire Twilight series.


1:13:59: Kelly makes sure no one is looking and sneaks in a crotch grab.


1:14:03: Look at this shit.


1:14:56: Alexa dancing all by her lonesome. Wait, did you not run into the ocean? Dammit.


1:15:04: Hahaha. Alexa just pushed the girl on the left out of the way and started dancing with the guy in jorts. WILL SHE EVER LEARN?!


1:15:12: An unofficial source pegs the number of words in this movie’s script at 6792. We’re about to hit the 10,000-word mark, and also what am I doing with my life.

1:15:16: Oh no. The beat breaks down, and Brandon is rapping again.

Party people
Everybody
Everybody
Just clap your hands
And if you gonna do what I think you’ll do

1:15:31: In a dramatic twist, Eddie shoves Brandon aside and takes over the verse! Apparently now that he’s gotten kissed one time, he has all the confidence in the world. Take it away, Eddie.

So throw your hands in the air
And wave ’em like you just don’t care

1:15:35: And with that, somewhere, the last member of the Sugar Hill Gang just died. 

    

1:15:43: Please, just make it stop.

 1:15:45: Good Lord, the man STILL won’t take off his shirt! Look around you! No one is wearing a shirt! Ugh. It’s going to be a hotly contested election for the next Mayor of Spring Break if Justin keeps this shit up. 

 1:16:04: Justin giving us one final dance move that will burn itself into our brains and haunt our dreams forever.


1:16:32: Finally, mercifully, fade to black.

Final thoughts: Well, this was a very bad movie. But! It was the type of bad movie where your complete apathy with respect to the fate of every single character allows you to enjoy it regardless of how anything turns out for anyone (the great example here is Jurassic Park III, where by the end of the first half-hour you’re unequivocally rooting for the dinosaurs to just eat everyone on screen). It would have been better with Season 4 Idol winner Carrie Underwood, or if Simon Cowell had played Coke Man, or if we had gotten the satisfaction of seeing Alexa’s inevitable reaction to finding out that she contracted VD during spring break. Maybe in the sequel (don’t fire me, Kelly).

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