The new Britney Spears documentary on Netflix is provoking a very bad reaction
"Trashy", "tasteless" and "deeply uncomfortable", apparently...
"Nothing about this feels right," notes the Guardian's review of Britney vs Spears, the new documentary on the troubled pop star that hit Netflix on Tuesday.
From the sounds of things, the film has a lot of problems, garnering some of the worst reviews of 2021 in a short space of time.
Per the official synopsis, journalist Jenny Eliscu and filmmaker Erin Lee Carr investigate Britney Spears' fight for freedom by way of exclusive interviews and confidential evidence, looking at her long-running conservatorship battle with her father Jamie and general intense media scrutiny suffered since her rise to stardom at the end of the century.
Given that there are now a few Britney-focused documentaries in the streaming world, it's far to say that her story has captured the attention of the public.
It would also be fair to suggest that her life experience ought to be handled and presented with a degree of care, something that seems to be absent here.
The aforementioned Guardian write-up labels the film "shlocky, trashy and deeply uncomfortable" in a scathing one-star summary.
"There’s a definite sense that the makers couldn’t keep up with an ever-shifting case but wanted to meet a deadline nonetheless," notes reviewer Michael Cragg who says that Britney vs Spears follows a "standard chronological narrative" that pays lip service to recent events and opts to present unreliable character witnesses in a strangely redemptive light.
Clip via Netflix
Variety, meanwhile, says that the film "tastelessly gawks" at Spears' struggles, adding that the documentary fails to shine any real compelling new light on proceedings.
"There seems little apparent irony in this film’s playing Spears’ electric testimony from earlier this year, in which she pleaded, 'I just want my life back. If this documentary is to play any role in speeding that process, it’s also insisting that the path to getting her life back goes through Netflix, Carr and Eliscu getting a bite of it first," says reviewer Daniel D'Addario.
D'Addario closes with something of a mic drop – "Does Netflix think we should Free Britney? Sure. But only if we can Use Britney first."
Also pouring cold water on the documentary; the UK Independent. "Irresponsible, boring and a waste of everyone's time" is the verdict from across the water.
"Spears’s conservatorship and the circumstances that led up to it are labyrinthian," says writer Adam White.
"There are many players, many rumours, and often difficulties discerning fact and fiction, something exacerbated by a thriving community of Spears supporters, who treat it all like a true-crime mystery.
"Documentaries like Britney vs Spears only perpetuate the worst of it, gesturing towards revelations without actually saying anything, and leaving desperate fans to follow a scattering of breadcrumbs to their own potentially incorrect conclusions."
Pretty damning, all in all...