MOVIE REVIEW: Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story

VH1 premiered the original TV movie, Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story just last night and everybody has an opinion about it! So of course, I had to share mine.  Starring Drew Sidora as Tionne 'T-Boz" Watkins, KeKe Palmer as Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, and Niatia "Lil Mama" Kirkland as the late great Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the movie recounts the making of TLC into one of the biggest girl groups of all time, but also their hard struggles along the way. Rochelle Aytes and Carl Anthony Payne II also appear as Peri "Pebbles" Reid and L.A. Reid, who first signed the group.

I'll admit. I was VERY NERVOUS when this was announced. I respect both Drew and KeKe as actresses, but I wasn't sure they could pull something like this off honestly. I REALLY wasn't sure about Lil Mama. However, after seeing one of the trailers, I quickly changed my mind! Lil Mama looked so much like Left Eye, it was ridiculous. The trio captured TLC's chemistry and mannerisms to a tee! So it was definitely a movie that I had to check out and review!

Check out my thoughts and sound off about the movie below!

The movie starts off with the group's individual humble beginnings. T-Boz started off just really kicking it and dancing at Jellybeans, a skating rink in Atlanta. Left Eye spent her time rapping on the streets of the ATL to get a little money, while Chili was a background dancer and in school. We see original TLC member Crystal Jones for all of five minutes as she approaches T-Boz with the idea to get signed to LaFace Records, which, back then, was the hottest label around down in Atlanta, and was run by L.A. and Babyface. Pebbles owned her own management company, Pebbitone, within LaFace. As T-Boz already had a strong connection with Left Eye and knew her skills, the girls quickly scored an audition at LaFace. However, Crystal didn't cut it, leaving Pebbles to have to find another girl. Chili impressed her with her vocals at a rehearsal and was quickly added to the group. Left Eye gives her the nickname "Chilli" and they keep their original name of TLC. That's how it all starts.

Throughout the movie, we see the ups and the downs of TLC's career, including Pebbles' hard hand on the girls. In two hours and thirty minutes, we get the story that many of us already knew. We see just how the girls were treated horribly with their contracts (though, to be fair, they were a little too eager in signing in the first place). Even after millions of albums sold, TLC wasn't really making money like that (Left Eye broke down the music industry formula towards the end when the group filed for
bankruptcy). We even see the girls breaking into Clive Davis' office with a crew of girls, demanding their money! It was a real insight into how the music industry really can be, which is why a lot of artists are staying or going independent. You can be a huge mainstream artist, and, due to label and management fees, as well as touring, lawyers, and all of that, not really see a dime. Pebbles is possibly looking to sue for defamation, but she has to prove that this movie (which held a lot of facts that we already knew anyway) is really damaging her reputation. I don't think she'll win if she does try to sue, but hey, she can try I guess. TLC's perception is their perception.

We also saw the girls' own personal individual struggles. Chilli, of course, had an up and down relationship with producer and songwriter Dallas Austin (played by Evan Ross). She became pregnant early on in the group's beginning, and actually got an abortion. Later, they had a son, but eventually Chilli broke it off after being tired of dealing with his player ways. We see T-Boz's struggle with sickle-cell anemia, as she is frequently hospitalized and has to be checked out during touring. It was said that she would never have children, but she has a daughter now from her relationship with rapper Mack 10.

Of course, Left Eye's story line was the most complex of all. We watch her get into various relationships, including her infamous one with footballer Andre Rison (and yes, we saw her light a match to those sneakers and burn his house down!). More than likely it had to do with her own relationship with her father We also see her wanting to branch out from TLC and really get into her s
Her alcohol and depression problems were also highlighted. However, in spite of it all, it could be seen that Left Eye was "crazy creative," as T-Boz put it towards the end. We see Left Eye's spiritual journey in Honduras, and her untimely death is peeked into a bit.

Sorry to disappoint, but there is NO discussion of Usher and Chilli's relationship, which I was actually fine with. I don't think that really would've added to the overall story of the group. People just wanted to know what happened more so than anything, but I guess that will be left for folks to debate about (Chilli did make it known that she was NOT the inspiration behind "Confessions," though and that he never cheated!).

The movie wasn't without its flaws. It was clear that Ke Ke, Drew and yes, even Lil Mama's lip syncing skills were off at times with the recreation of the music videos. I felt at times that the movie was rushed to fit everything in. I heard suggestions that maybe this could've been a short TV series as The Jackson 5 and The Temptations had on VH1, and maybe it really should have. I would have loved to see more of TLC's journey after Left Eye a little bit, but I didn't mind how the story ended on a positive note celebrating Left Eye and their entire journey all together.  However, overall, it was a great story, and I actually want to get this when it comes out on DVD to the public. I would give it a B+/A-, four out of five stars

I HAVE to give it up to Lil Mama for this role! In all honesty, she was the one that I was most worried about in the casting, especially since Left Eye is no longer here. Everybody was looking to her to see what she would bring to the table, and SHE KILLED IT! I mean, from Left Eye's appearance to her voice and mannerisms, Lil Mama really got it down pat! It was very impressive to watch. KeKe and Drew were very impressive too, though sometimes Drew faded in and out to me as T-Boz at times. However, I loved their chemistry together, and think that they were indeed the best actresses to pull this off. Shout out to T-Boz and Chilli for creating this movie with VH1, and giving us a new possible VH1 classic to watch. RIP Left Eye!

What did you think of Crazy Sexy Cool?

Image via VH1/Fan Pop

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