I have a great affinity for Justin Timberlake. I hope that his film “Edison” is worth watching. However, I was a little disappointed to learn that he would be making a film, especially since I saw his appearance in the made-for-TV film “Model Behavior,” circa 2000. It seems that American viewers, the only audience with which I’m intimately familiar, are obsessed with the triple threat.

This means different things to different people. For those watching P. Diddy’s current project, “Making the Band 3,” it means a performer who can sing, dance and has “it.” Or, perhaps in this example, possesses neither of the three. However, for argument’s sake, the true triple threat is Jennifer Lopez – a musical performer, screen performer and businesswoman. Is this synergy of occupation entirely necessary? Is it possible that if she stuck to one thing and honed a craft she could actually be critically successful? But, any problems I had with J. Lo were corrected with the release of her single “Get Right.” So, I’d rather focus my attention on pseudo-stars such as Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan and Ashlee Simpson.

Perhaps there is some truth in the idea that those who are able to perform in one capacity are often multi-talented. For example, many actors, especially soap opera actors, have vocal training. But must this be exploited? Must everyone attempt to cross over?

Why did Lindsay Lohan need to release the single “Rumors?” Her position as an actress might be a better question to ponder. Likewise, perhaps Hilary Duff should be told she can’t act or that she reached her peak on the Disney Channel. I was perfectly content with Ashlee Simpson on “7th Heaven,” but most recently it seems that her parents decided that letting her have a “singing” career was more cost-effective than sending her to therapy for her sibling issues. She will be appearing in a film entitled “Undiscovered,” but perhaps she should stick to the small screen.

Obviously there is a large market for all of these performers. However, they simply prove once again that many films are released simply to make money, which depletes the creativity of the entire filmmaking industry.

Perhaps their success is the result of Hollywood’s starvation for the next child star. Where is the next Shirley Temple or Macaulay Culkin? Haley Joel Osment didn’t quite pan out. Perhaps there is hope for Dakota Fanning, but puberty’s a bitch – only the strong survive.

The production of such young vehicle films harkens back to the days of the Hollywood studio system, where stars seem to be exploited from all angles. Maybe the difference is the talent. Will any of these young performers be remembered as fondly as a Mickey Rooney or a Judy Garland? I doubt it.

Oh, by the way, Mariah Carey is currently working on a new film. Enough said.

Reyhani can be reached at reyhani@campustimes.org.



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