As I mention in my review of THE BUDDY HOLLY
STORY, some lives are tragically too short to make for an outstanding
bio-pic. But sometimes, the star is so good, it offsets the
of drama. Such is the case with SELENA, the story of
singer Selena Quintanilla Perez, a beautiful and talented performer who
was fatally shot by her fan club manager in 1995, just two weeks shy of
her 24th birthday. If you want to remember how captivating
pre-"diva /J-Lo/ Jenny from the Block" Jennifer Lopez could be, SELENA
is the film to watch.
Although there was
controversy over the choice of the Puerto Rican Lopez as Selena, it is
hard to imagine her sweet, natural portrayal not winning over most
fans. Lopez creates a Selena that is not only beautiful and
talented, but also childlike and completely lovable. It is
performance that put Lopez on the map as an actress, but, although she
has remained a competent actress, her career has sadly not lived up to
its initial promise.
Lopez does not sing
recordings are used) but she has the
right dance moves for the music, and, naturally, she does a fine job
filling out the pop-star's sexy and sometimes outrageous stage
outfits, although, even blessed with one of the most famous posteriors
in the world, Lopez reportedly still wore "butt pads" to approximate the
singer's memorable backside.
The music itself is fine, though I highly prefer the early Tex-Mex
songs such as the catchy "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" to the later "crossover"
hits like "I Could Fall in Love With You", which, like most pop music
from the past decade and a half, is so carefully produced that it
sounds like nobody and everybody at the same time.
does not show the actual shooting, but cuts to the aftermath, and ends,
in a selflessly sweet move, with actual footage of the star herself
intercut with fan vigils.
SELENA, which also features a quality turn by Edward James Olmos as Selena's father, is a nice movie, not a great one. But, like Gary Busey in THE BUDDY HOLY STORY, Lopez and her engaging performance makes it all worthwhile. - JB