Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest Britney Spears fan of late. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect her place in pop culture history, and the fact that I associate several of her songs with various defining moments of my youth. She’s just had a rough handful of years, for lack of better phrasing, and I sincerely believe that she was pushed into a “comeback” — long before she was stable enough for one — as a marketing ploy. So naturally when I heard she was not only headlining a long-running show in Vegas AND getting her own documentary on E!, I had both low expectations and a little anxiety for her over it.
Yesterday, this six-minute clip from I Am Britney Jean made its way to YouTube so I checked it out. I assumed it would hold my attention for about a minute and a half, and then I’d move on to watching videos of kittens. What I didn’t expect was to sit through all six minutes and still want more.
Say what you will about Britney — and there is plenty to say — but she’s an entertainer. In this clip, she comes across as confident and focused. Her “confessional” moments are honest and candid. Yes, I’m surprised by this because just last week Britney was awkwardly stumbling through an interview with Ellen (Ellen, for God’s sake) and saying really sad, misguided stuff about wanting another baby. But in this documentary, she appears to be in her element – especially when she’s concentrating on choreography and spending time with her kids. Needless to say, her comfort level is far more natural when she lets everything go and lets herself be, well, herself.
Obviously this documentary isn’t going to be nominated for an Oscar or leave you feeling scholarly, but it will trigger warm and fuzzy memories of high school dances, flare jeans, laying out at the neighborhood pool, and drunkenly dancing in your first frat house basement after chugging your first Natty Light. Wait… what?
I Am Britney Jean premiers tonight on E! at 9 p.m.