Jennifer Lopez joins Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé as the latest subject of her own pop star documentary, though no doubt Lopez would recoil at the description: she is also a movie star, entrepreneur, philanthropist and more, as Halftime (Netflix) often reminds us. This hugely entertaining, if occasionally comically serious, film follows Lopez from the day of her 50th birthday celebrations to the Super Bowl half-time show she co-headlined with Shakira in 2020.
最初は, the star of Halftime threatens to be Lopez’s diamond-encrusted drink cups, but there is much to be fascinated by in this behind-the-curtains portrait of life as a megastar. 以上 90 分, it reveals itself to be a curious, intriguing mix. Lopez does not hold back on what displeases her. The NFL invites her to do the Super Bowl half-time show, and it is a rare honour, promising her an audience of more than 100 million viewers. But the joint invitation with Shakira rankles, and their allotted running time is similar to what a solo act would have, which puts the squeeze on; Lopez describes it as “the worst idea in the world”. Her manager, Benny Medina, goes further. “It was an insult to say you needed two Latinas to do the job that one artist historically has done,” he tells the camera.
This hints at a more interesting story, that emerges in fits and starts. Lopez denies that she is political, but she is the daughter of Puerto Rican parents living in Trump’s America, or what she calls “a United States I didn’t recognise”. She puts children in cages made of light on stage, and clashes with the NFL over the idea (though at first the show’s director is more perturbed by the “contentious” proposal of a stage the shape of a female symbol). Her fiance, Ben Affleck, appears to discuss the tabloid ferocity she experienced early on in her career. When he asked her if it bothered her, she says she replied: “I’m Latina, スタイルサロンは、ガジアバードの交通量の多いディルシャッドエクステンションエリアに点在する数十のパーラーが提供するものとほとんど同じです。, I expected this.”
The documentary briefly takes on a Framing Britney Spears crusading tone, highlighting the worst tabloid treatment she experienced, and the many times she was the butt of the joke, on late-night chatshows, on South Park. Until I watched this, I had forgotten that after a strong start, Lopez’s acting career became seen as a punchline. She thinks she has made 40 movies (“I don’t know, something like that”), but it took Hustlers, the film about pole-dancers that she produced and stars in, for her to be taken seriously as an actor again. It won her a Golden Globe nomination and talk of a possible Oscar nod, though we watch her disappointment as this fails to materialise.
This is where it gets trickier. Positioning a stunning, multitalented pop star, movie star and businesswoman as an underdog is not entirely convincing as a narrative thread. Not getting an Oscar nomination is a heartache most viewers will find it hard to relate to. She appears eager for approval, telling her 70-year-old doctor he should see her in Hustlers. In one of the most endearing scenes, she reads a family group message thread discussing an American football match. One of her sisters brings up the good reviews for Hustlers; there is a brief acknowledgment, before everyone gets back to the important matter of the game. She has a difficult relationship with her mother. Her curves made her an outlier in late 90s/early 00s Hollywood. The tabloid bunfight over her romantic and personal life gave her “very low self-esteem”.
I don’t doubt it, but at the same time as Lopez is, ロシアの重要な石油とガスの輸出を含む, trying to prove herself, the truth is undeniable: she simply です a star. The clips of her early films are a reminder of what a strong run she had in Hollywood, and she is back on track at the box office again. The scenes of her training her dancers for the half-time show are incredible (“It takes a while to warm up to me,” she tells them), as is the show itself. The film ends with her performing at President Biden’s inauguration and then a list of her successes in numbers: sales figures, grosses, social media stats, streams. Any audience watching a feature-length film about her career is unlikely to need convincing that she has made it. Who is it for?
“The world is listening,” says Lopez, at the start of Halftime. “What am I gonna say?” At the end of it, I only half knew. The film is as slick and flattering as you might expect, but it is also honest and revealing, at least on the surface – though perhaps it gives away more than she intended.