At last, this generation has its own "Cool as Ice."
It's Mariah Carey's "Glitter" (Columbia TriStar), and it's been flushed onto home video at relative light speed following its September theatrical run. Making back only $4 million and change of its $22 million budget, Carey's ego-paean could still make entire hundreds of dollars more among bad-movie buffs.
There's nothing in it as catchy as "Drop that zero and get with the hero," but the pop diva's fictional star-is-born saga does have some points of interest that correlate with real life: Publicists (portrayed as clueless) criticize young Billie Frank's (Carey's) "slutty" dressing habits, and she throws a tantrum in the middle of a rehearsal. If you haven't cut your losses by the end of all that, the DVD version includes a couple of music videos and an audio commentary from director Vondie Curtis Hall.
The rest of this week's comedies are intentional:
"American Pie 2" (Universal). The gang from 1999's hit raunchy teen sex comedy is back, and it's summer vacation at the beach. Add a visit to band camp, and you've got a sequel with plenty of yuks, but it's a little less funny than the original. Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Shannon Elizabeth, Eugene Levy and a — ahem — score of others star. The "Collector's Edition" DVD comes in widescreen, full-frame, "unrated" and theatrical versions. Try not to Super Glue any of them to your hand.
"Wet Hot American Summer" (USA). This raunchy spoof of raunchy teen sex comedies from the late '70s and early '80s disappeared faster than one of Mariah Carey's bras. But it is dead on target, goes where "American Pie" fears to tread (the hilarious outtakes go a step further) and deserves a look on video. Counselors and kids cram their mayhem into the last day of summer camp in 1981. Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce head the ensemble cast, with Christopher Meloni as a perverted Vietnam vet cook.
"Bubble Boy" (Touchstone). Audiences pulled the plug on this irreverent comedy, too. Maybe they were influenced by protesters who took offense at a main character (Jake Gyllenhaal) with an immune disorder. But it nearly does to John Travolta's 1976 "Boy in the Plastic Bubble" movie what "Wet Hot American Summer" does to its ilk, with some politically incorrect laughs. It's got a religious-fanatic mom with a foul mouth, bikers, sideshow freaks and a teenage boy in a ridiculous spherical contraption chasing the woman he loves.
"The Anniversary Party" (New Line) begins as a subtle comedy when a troubled Hollywood couple (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, who also wrote and directed) invite friends, colleagues and dog-hating neighbors over. But after a starlet (Gwyneth Paltrow) gets the guests tripping on Ecstasy, the evening moves into "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" territory. Even with its annoying moments and its digital video, this is the kind of flick you'd catch by accident on late-night cable and be unable to tear yourself away from.
Also on digital video, "Tortilla Soup" (Columbia) is a harmless, Mexican-American take on Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman." Hector Elizondo plays the widowed chef who connects with his three grown daughters through drool-inducing meals — as he's losing his senses of taste and smell.
The re-release of the week: "Roots" (Warner). The whole eight-chapter landmark mini-series from 1977. The DVD features a cast-and-crew audio commentary and a behind-the-scenes documentary.
Finally, Disney has issued a handful of re-releases on its lavishly extras-packed "Vista Series": most notably a 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition of "Tron" (1982) and the paperboy strike musical "Newsies" (1992) — which the studio claims is one of its most requested titles. Also: "The Sixth Sense" (1999) and "Tombstone" (1993).
Also new this week: HBO's "Boycott," with Jeffrey Wright; "Daria: Is It Fall Yet?" (Paramount); "Ripper: Letter from Hell" (Studio). Re-releases: "Cousins," with "CSI's" William Petersen (Paramount, 1989), and "Falling in Love," with Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep (Paramount, 1984); the film noir "Gunman in the Streets" (1950); and a trio of stage plays: Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" with Jason Robards, Studs Terkel's "Working" and William Saroyan's "Time of Your Life" (all from Image).
Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or email@example.com.