There's a TLC Movie, and It Has a Trailer

Slate's Culture Blog
July 25 2013 3:49 PM

There's a TLC Movie, and It Has a Trailer

R&B trio TLC achieved massive success throughout the '90s, releasing three multiplatinum albums (Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip, CrazySexyCool, and Fanmail) while setting fashion trends and making headlines for their notorious personal lives. Their 1999 Fanmail tour remains the highest-grossing tour for an all-female group, and they are the second-highest selling girl group of all time, behind only the Spice Girls. Considering their achievements and the group's well-documented behind-the-scenes drama (Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes setting fire to the mansion she shared with footballer Andre Rison; the group declaring bankruptcy at the peak of their fame; the in-fighting), it was probably only a matter of time before the group's career found its way into the biopic circuit.

VH1 has jumped in to do the honors, and will be airing Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story this fall. The trailer has just been released, and to say that the casting is on-point, at least when it comes to looks, would be an understatement: The film stars Drew Sidora as Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, former Nickelodeon star Keke Palmer as Rozonda "Chlili" Thomas, and rapper Lil Mama as Lopes, and the women are pretty much dead ringers for their real-life counterparts. The choice of screenwriter—Kate Lanier, who also wrote the great Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It—is also promising, though she also penned Glitter, the terrible Mariah Carey vehicle from 2001.

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But while the actresses certainly look good, there's little sense of how well they can pull off TLC's distinct personalities, or indeed of what the point is of this whole venture. Will it be another rags-to riches-to-rags-again story? Will it touch on Lopes' untimely death in a car accident 11 years ago? Instead of behind-the-scenes drama, almost all we get is the scenes themselves: recreations of concerts, interviews, and their iconic music videos—"No Scrubs," "Waterfalls"—with little we haven't seen before.

If VH1's original press release is to be believed, there will be some new revelations and insights into lives and careers of these stars: "We know our viewers will be eager to go beyond the headlines and into the surprisingly personal, never before told stories of these groundbreaking women," it says. So perhaps this will have some new stories to tell after all.

If it doesn't, you could always just seek out the Behind the Music episode from a few years ago.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.