This video souvenir saluting teeny pop princess and Grammy winner (as Best New Artist) Christina Aguilera is a textbook example of the hybrid documentary format that's proving de rigeur for recording artists courting the burgeoning teen and pre-teen audience. Shot on videotape and mixing backstage atmosphere, between-shows conversations, interview clips, and fan testimonials with music videos, Genie Gets Her Wish
offers the same sort of cheerfully uncritical portrait accorded Aguilera's peers including the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, and Britney Spears in their own video valentines.
Like Spears (who's conspicuously invoked as both friend and former New Mouseketeer colleague), Aguilera combines a curiously old-fashioned show-biz work ethic with a contemporary persona that intoxicates young teen boys, inspires young girls, and likely triggers mild anxiety attacks for some parents. No father can watch this profile's footage of prepubescent girls wiggling along to the singer's signature hit, "Genie in a Bottle," with its sly entendres ("You've got to rub me the right way...") and not ponder the meaning of innocence in the 21st century. Moms likewise may want to find a hotline to help counsel their daughters on the dangers of blue eyeliner abuse and excessive blow-drying.
However, even jaded boomers and Gen-X ironists may have a hard time ignoring Aguilera's outsized vocal gifts. While it's sobering to hear her cite such "old-timers" as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey as influences, it's beguiling when the 18-year-old gamine, accompanied by her RCA Records executive angel, Ron Fair, leaps into an impromptu performance of the Etta James classic "At Last." If the lyric seems precocious coming from Aguilera's bee-stung lips, that voice warrants the choice, offering a tantalizing glimpse of what could happen if she successfully navigates beyond the frothier waters of teen pop to more mature music. --Sam Sutherland
This 84-minute documentary with music includes a photo gallery, chapter selections, and special Web links exclusive to the DVD edition.