(L-R) Drew Sidora as T-Boz, Keke Palmer as Chilli, Lil Mama as Left Eye. Credit: VH1
Okay, so I've been and and about this on Moniqueblog, and now, a day after the premiere of CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, I can honestly say that the film was worth the hype.
The group TLC falls into that same category as Aaliyah with me; two acts that marry hip-hop, funk, class, grunge, and even a splash of tomboyish femininity together in an amazing, fresh blend. T-Boz was always my favorite; her style and deep singing voice was something I always resonated with. Oddly enough, the two acts also unnerved me a little; I don't know why, but I always felt there was something mysterious about their auras. This creepy factor especially got ramped up with the untimely deaths of Left Eye and Aaliyah happening relatively close to each other. Still, I'm a huge fan of both Aaliyah and TLC, and with CrazySexyCool, I was hoping it would capture the same childhood feelings I had for the group. It did that and then some.
Generally, when watching a TV film nowadays, you don't expect a lot. And I'll admit that even with this film, I was immediately annoyed by the voiceovers of Chilli (Keke Palmer), T-Boz (Drew Sidora) and Left-Eye (Lil Mama). But the film quickly got into the nitty-gritty of the group's story, and I became completely engrossed (especially after it seemed the film itself got the hint and dropped the voiceover).
All three actresses were stellar, making me forget that they were just actresses and not TLC. I was also really impressed with Rochelle Aytes as Perri "Pebbles" Reid and Carl Anthony Payne II as Antonio "L.A." Reid. Evan Ross also held his own as Chilli's loose boyfriend, Dallas Austin. But while all of the actresses did their thing-I really love Sidora's portrayal of T-Boz-I have to give special props to Lil Mama, someone I was admittedly underestimating before watching the film. She really embodied Left Eye in such a way that I felt I was actually watching the real Left Eye on screen. She was amazing.
I really love how the movie doesn't hold anything back. T-Boz and Chilli had their hands all over the film, including telling the actresses about their real life stories, and thankfully, nothing about their lives seemed to be glossed over. You really got an inside look into what happened with the group. And the recreations of the radio and TV interviews and music videos are just astounding. Those really ground you into the world in which Palmer, Lil Mama and Sidora are TLC.
Overall, this was thoroughly enjoyable and completely surpassed my expectations. It gives drama and gossip all in one sitting. It was also a great ride down memory lane (huge cell phones! beepers!). All of those episodes, similar to the group's music, blended together into something magical.