Sacrebleu! Monsieur Pete Doherty’s acting debut as a debauched Frenchman in new flick Confessions Of A Child Of The Century has been given a big ol’ shoeing by film critics. The former Libertines man has been lambasted for his “shambling amateurism” and his “wooden performance”, with the Hollywood Reporter neatly summarizing: “It’s hard to recall an actor looking more uncomfortable on the screen.” Alas, Hollywood is probably not calling Pete’s name.
All of which got us thinking: which other singers have tried their hand at being a thesp and been cataclysmically terrible? For every Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, or David Bowie in Labryinth (it’s a classic, no arguments), there are musicians like those on our list of shame who should really stick to the day job. These are the pop stars who’ve made me reach for the remote in horror and wash my eyes with bleach.
Mariah Carey – Glitter
Mimi’s redeemed herself since somewhat with a star-turn in 2009’s Precious, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Glitter was an almighty stinker – so much so that Carey was given the dubious honour of bagging a Golden Raspberry Gong for Worst Actress. She plays singer Billie Franks in a story full of teeth-itchingly saccharine nonsense.
Most Cringeworthy Moment: When Billie falls out with her angsty beau Dice (Max Beesley) and ham-fistedly writes a song about it, before going to his house to kiss and make-up – only to discover he’s written EXACTLY THE SAME BLOODY SONG. Jesus wept.
What The Critics Said: “For her part, Carey seems most concerned about keeping her lips tightly sealed like a kid with braces, and when she tries for an emotion – any emotion – she looks as if she’s lost her car keys” – The Village Voice.
Britney Spears – Crossroads
Britney loses her virginity to some hunky slab of nothingness, bonds with her old school friends on the dullest road trip known to the human race, belts-out a God-awful rendition of Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll’ and eventually wows everyone at a singing audition.
Most Cringeworthy Moment: Britney (her character’s called Lucy, but they’re so sodding interchangeable it makes no difference, really) tracks down her long-lost mother, who tells her she was a mistake. It should be a big, hefty, sob-heavy moment: Britters sells it with a look on her face like a chimp puzzling over a rigorous algebra equation.
What The Critics Said: “Spears delivers a performance with the same sincerity she invests into a Pepsi commercial, only this film contains twice the sugary calories” – The Chicago Tribune.
Sting – Dune
You are making a film version of Frank Herbert’s much-loved sci-fi novel Dune. You have roped in one of the greatest directors of all time, David Lynch, to direct. What could possibly go wrong? Lots did, actually – its creation was infamously plagued by problem after problem, way before Lynch stepped in – but casting Sting as arch-antagonist Feyd-Rautha was never really going to work, was it?
Most Cringeworthy Moment: Probably his hammy-as-hell knife showdown with Kyle MachLaclan, when he hisses “I will kill you” and then nibbles his fingers like a feisty hamster. Although this extended bit of posing, in which he stands covered in sweat wearing only his undercrackers and occasionally contorting his arms around like a tantra-loving, amorous octopus, runs it a close second.
What The Critics Said: “Nobody looks very happy in this movie. Actors stand around in ridiculous costumes, mouthing dialogue that has little or no context” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times.
Madonna – Swept Away
Guy Ritchie is behind the camera, as Madge plays a brattish, high-maintenance type who goes on a cruise with her hubby and is rude to the ship’s first mate. Because she’s a snob, you see. But then – OH NO – the two of them end up on a beach together, alone, after a shipwreck. There’s no way they’ll get together, is there? SPOILER: Yes, of course they will.
Most Cringeworthy Moment: Genuinely, there are too many to choose from. Forget actors – there are no two human beings in the history of the universe who have less believable chemistry than Madonna and Italian hunk Adriano Giannini.
What The Critics Said: “Madonna has often been a mesmerizing performer, but she is still not much of an actress. Striking a pose is not the same as embodying a person, and a role like this one requires the surrender of emotional control, something Madonna seems constitutionally unable to achieve” – New York Times.
Vanilla Ice – Cool As Ice
The real-life Rob Van Winkle plays a bad-boy rapper who woos a prissy student with his ‘charm’ and woes the masses with his rhyming skills. This plot is inevitably flawed, of course, as Mr Ice is a) horrendously sleazy and b) doesn’t actually have any talent.
Most Cringeworthy Moment: Any moment he raps is typically awful, of course, but check him out in seduction mode. “Drop that hero and get with the zero!” he slimes at his would-be paramour. I ask you, who wouldn’t go weak at the knees?
What The Critics Said: “Having established that he can’t rap or dance, Vanilla Ice now adds acting to his resume – call it the tri-imperfecta of pop” – Washington Post.