TLC is so beloved and so legendary, any attempt to condense the hip-hop/R&B group’s story into a TV movie would be immediately met with skepticism.
But on Monday, VH1 pulled off what many imagined the network couldn’t: a watchable biopic of the all-female trio called “CrazySexyCool.”
Under the close watch of TLC’s two surviving members, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, “CrazySexyCool” paints their rise to pop royalty in spite of several hurdles, both personal and professional, before culminating with the devastating death of late TLC star Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. The casting of Drew Sidora as T-Boz, Keke Palmer as Chilli and Lil Mama as Left Eye initially raised some grumbles, but the three ended up being a bright spot for the project.
The New York Times found that the telepic “pinballs from one eruption to the next, giving over disproportionate time to the group’s myriad financial squabbles with its label and management” and leaving “barely any time for accolades, a shame for a group that received and deserved many. At minimum, the film has verisimilitude. The resemblances between the actresses and their subjects can be disorienting.”
Slate’s Willa Paskin argues that while “CrazySexyCool” may not be “a particularly well-constructed biopic, hopping from moment to moment like moviemaking was just a matter of checking scenes off a list,” it does convey “TLC’s particular infectious, rambunctious spirit” and “will absolutely convince you that TLC was amazing. As art, ‘CrazySexyCool’ is middling; as propaganda it is very effective.”
The A.V. Club was less forgiving of the biopic’s perspective, critiquing that while “Behind the Music” could examine TLC’s highs and lows with objectivity, “CrazySexyCool” didn’t — and that was its biggest failing, rendering the movie “hokey.”
“While it’s possible to make a good movie about a living person, or to capture the legacy of a band or an actor while still remaining mostly honest, ‘CrazySexyCool’ doesn’t do that,” the A.V. Club’s Marah Eakin reviews. “One positive for the movie: The actors cast to play the girls are great, and the reenactments of the band’s signature music videos (‘Waterfalls,’ ‘Creep,’ ‘No Scrubs’) are really spot on. … (But) anyone other than fawning superfans should just watch those ‘Behind The Musics’ instead.”
Breeanna Hare | CNN