Jennifer Lopez hard worker, no doubt. Can she sing? Eh, not so much. She can dance? She can, and she clearly takes the time to hone her fitness.
But J. Lo also had three husbands and three other serious relationships that have been in the news for almost three decades. In one such relationship, she was running from a gunfight in a New York nightclub, which resulted in her being arrested and spent 14 hours in jail. $1.8 million in compensation was paid to the injured and the rapper took responsibility and went to jail for it and Sean Combs.
None of this is included in “Halftime,” the glossy commercial that opened the Tribeca (formerly Film) festival and is now streaming on Netflix. This is not a documentary. It’s a smug farewell speech made of ego and arrogance. And that makes it fun!
Yes, J.Lo is good with a stripper, and it’s nothing to sneeze at. Can she sing? She says yes, but she never does so in this film. All the other singers that I knew – and I knew many – sing even under their breath, and a cappella, they sing little pieces while moving, they have it in them. But that’s not an instinct for Lopez. Many years ago, when her single “I’m Ready” with Ja Rulehit the charts, the singer’s mother called me Ashanti, who was the backing vocalist for J. Lo. Mother confirmed to me that we heard Ashanti’s voice on the recording. Almost every appearance on television J. Lo lip-synched. How does her real voice sound without embellishment? In Break, we don’t find out.
In the film, Lopez is upset that she didn’t get an Oscar nomination for her work in The Strippers, the first decent movie she’s had in years. This was preceded by a lot of garbage. No one in the movie tells her that just because you think you deserve an Oscar, you won’t get it. All of the women who were nominated in 2020 for Best Supporting Actress were employed and had quality resumes. Acting was not a secondary matter for them. But no one talks about it in Halftime.
The film mainly focuses on Lopez’s performance at the 2020 Super Bowl. Shakira. Here she is upset that she has to share the stage with another performer. But J.Lo hasn’t had a hit in years. She has never had so many hits on the charts. She has only released 8 albums since 1999 and the top 10 group was in the first three or four years. The same goes for her singles. So sharing time with Shakira isn’t a bad idea, because a lip-synced medley of JLo hits can run out in three to four minutes.
(Wait: singing career? Invented Tommy Mottola, who at the time was married to her rival Mariah Carey. Eventually, Mottola, according to witnesses and reports at the time, took the piece of music written for Mariah and gave it to J. Lo, prompting Mariah’s mental collapse and the end of her marriage. None of this is in the film, and Mottola is not mentioned either.)
She wants to sing “Born in the USA” with Shakira. So it’s not even one of her own songs. It doesn’t register with her. She thinks “I’m Still Standing” might be a good topic. “Let’s Elton John,she said. Except then it would be the Elton John halftime show. He had a lot of hits. And he can sing. And play the piano.
None of this makes Jennifer Lopez a bad person. I met her when she was married to Marc Anthony. She seemed perfectly acceptable. She has an amazing work ethic, that’s clear. But a documentary and a commercial are two different things, even if you put cameras in the house and say that your mother beat you as a child. (This statement has not been researched, confirmed, or refuted. It’s just passing by, on the same level that Mom doesn’t like to cook.)
So take “Halftime” for what it is. But, like most films commissioned by heroes, there is neither objectivity, nor curiosity, nor facts in it. It’s half the concept of half the movie.