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TV Review: Britney Ever After

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Britney Ever After is the unauthorised biopic about the life of pop scarlet Britney Spears, most famous for her teenage album releases and subsequent breakdowns in the mid noughties.

Starring Australian actor Natasha Bassett as the Louisiana-born singer, the show begins as Spears releases her debut single ‘Baby One More Time' and tours with boyband *NSYNC.

Focusing on her relationship with Justin Timberlake and subsequently the marriage and divorce from Kevin Federline, the father of her two children, the biopic shows Federline’s initial refusal to sign a pre-nuptial agreement and Britney’s struggle as a young mother. We even get the opportunity to see her nearly drop her baby in favour of an iced coffee. Good times.

Of course, the highlight of the show is Britney’s highly publicised breakdown, and this is where actress Bassett’s skills really shine through. Although the audience are likely to already know what is going to happen when the star picks up an umbrella and shaves her head (who could forget?), seeing them dramatised really hits home how bad things were for the star. Despite this, Bassett plays Britney as the victim of poor circumstances rather than that of a young woman who was doing crazy and somewhat violent things, and this softens the blow a bit.

This idea is only enhanced when Britney’s ex manager Sam Lufti (played by Benjamin Arce) appears in the show, acting as an evil villain who refuses to let her see her family and tips off photographers to her locations to exploit her even more. The acting of Arce is chilling, even if the storyline is somewhat sensationalised.

Critics have universally panned the show, with many unhappy that there is no mention of Britney’s life prior to the release of her first single. This said, with so much to get through in Britney’s media heavy life, it would have been a shame for the director to focus on her childhood when many know her for her infamous antics and catchy records. The Mickey Mouse Club may have introduced her to some, but raunchy tracks such as 'Toxic' and 'I’m A Slave 4 U' are what made her a household name worldwide.

The largest problem of the show is the lack of these iconic records. With no music rights available, Lifetime relied on sample electro tracks alongside covers of 'I Love Rock and Roll' and '(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.' Yes, Britney did cover these songs, but would any viewer remember them over commercial hits such as 'Womaniser'? Unlikely. Even one official track would have improved the music offering substantially.

The show has its problems – but for a guilt free ride through the life and times of America’s Sweetheart, it’s a good way to spend one hour and 20 minutes. And who knows, you might see Britney Spears in a different light. I sure did.

Britney Ever After debuts on UK television this Sunday (26th February) on Lifetime UK.





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