Judge Bill Gibron loves to dance in the dark, even as this cheap rip-off falls apart.
Not bluffin' with their muffin' or nothin'.
Pop phenomenons don't skyrocket faster or father than Lady Gaga. Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in New York City a scant 24 years ago, she's become a certified superstar, her various ear candy hit singles matching her outrageous fashion sense for public approval and fascination. From mind-blowing meat dresses at the VMAs to ditzy duets with Elton John at the Grammys, Gaga is everywhere and everything to everyone. So it makes sense that Sonia Anderson, the quickie biography documentary expert (having been responsible for similarly thin direct to DVD takes on Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, and Led Zeppelin) would work her quasi-tabloid magic on the "Bad Romance" diva. Rounding up a grand total of three experts (including one literarily invested in Gaga's story), a few associates, and filling out the rest of the running time with stock footage appearances of the star, One Sequin at a Time is nothing more than forced fan friendly dish, a gossip column compilation of E! and Extra outtakes that sheds no new light on the performer and, instead, argues for a commercial moratorium on this kind of crash, pointless tie-in.
It's safe to say that, with someone like Gaga, nothing is unknown. This is 2010 after all. Her entire life has been picked over and publicized from both sides of the creative camp. When you consider the web and the world of instant messaging, everything is fair game. Heck, she herself has been a fixture on music-oriented stations like Fuse, opening up her often mannered memories of childhood difficulties and artist aspirations. So a few stylistic surprises aside (Gaga worked with…Michael Bolton???), One Sequin at a Time is redundant. Even worse, it's self-righteously so. The three talking heads giving up their psychobabble assumptions and assertions about poor Stefani all speak as if their insights come straight from muckraking Mount Olympus itself. One, in particular, constantly downgrades Gaga ("she's not the prettiest…," "she's not the best singer…," "she's not the best pianist…") before reluctantly agreeing that she's a multimillion dollar musical icon. Others, including those who've collaborated with her, gush in a way that can only indicate an out of context comment from some other media source.
This is not a documentary or Behind the Music expose. Instead, it's a crass coattailing onto what's now and happening. If Lady Gaga was a struggling indie performer selling several hundred downloads from her own fan-run website, Anderson and her minions could care less. But with her face plastered all over current popular culture and her music even making cynical old coots like yours truly smile on occasion, Gaga is fodder for such bottom feeding. If you read her Wikipedia page or scan Google for some interesting articles, you'll learn everything that One Sequin At a Time has to offer—and much, much more. Of course, this requires something called 'reading' (don't know what that is? Go ask your grandparents…). In addition, the biggest sin here is the inability for Anderson or the distributors at Echo Bridge Home Entertainment to clear a SINGLE Lady Gaga song. Instead, they employ Steve McNerney to produce a nonstop series of sound-alike slop that even 'borrows' the "ma-ma-ma-ma" hook from "Poker Face." No videos. No actual tracks. Just exploitation and exasperation. One Sequin at a Time may fascinate the stupider of the tween faithful, but anyone over the age of 12 will see it for what it is—a soulless money grab.
As for the overall quality, there is not much to discuss. The Dolby Digital Stereo mix is clean enough and the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image is a mishmash of sources and standard straight from video interviews. There is even a 5.1 Surround option, but why bother. McNerney's material isn't worth the sonic upgrade. Also there are no bonus materials here, making an already slight presentation that much more pointless. If you need everything with Gaga's name plastered on it, this dopey DVD will be decent collectible material. Heck, you may even learn a thing or one. But if you really want something that digs deeper and exposes/explains more, One Sequin at a Time is not it. In fact, all it's really interested in is taking your hard earned cash…one dollar at a time.
Guilty of being a crass and callous cash-in.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
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