When they were ten years old, three girls promised each other that on graduation day they would return to this spot under this tree in this park and dig up the box they had buried which contained their most secret wishes. They also promised they would be friends forever, but that has not turned out to be true as they have drifted apart now their graduation day has arrived. One of them, Lucy (Britney Spears) lives with her single father since her mother walked out on them, but is feeling that she is drifting apart from him now that tonight she plans to lose her virginity. Yet tonight will have surprises in store...
It's fashionable to knock Crossroads for being the epitome of the moronic star vehicle - there isn't even the right motel in it! Britters doesn't sell her soul to the devil either! - but also because entertainment for teenage girls has rarely been accepted by, well, everyone who isn't a teenage girl. Yet this was not the worst example of its type, and at least had a message of the importance of friendship and not jumping into bed with the first guy who asks you - or was it not to lose your virginity to a nerd as you get the impression that if Lucy had gone all the way with Justin Long's Henry character she would never have been able to look herself in the mirror again.
So bad luck nerds, says Crossroads, even if you get the girl of your dreams standing in front of you in her underwear, that unlikely scenario won't play out to your satisfaction as she was way out of your league anyway, let's face it. If Blue Peter taught us anything, though it's that time capsules buried under trees will emerge dirty and soggy, and yet in this film the objects contained within are in pristine condition, so maybe that's a hint we're not dealing with the real world. Another hint that we're in movieland is that Lucy plans to give up her studies as a doctor as daddy wanted and ooh, what do you know, go into a singing career instead, but first she wants to track down that errant mother of hers.
To get this underway, the three girls, Lucy, bitchy Kit (Zoe Saldana) and pregnant Mimi (Taryn Manning) put aside their differences and go on a road trip as Lucy wants to be dropped off at mom's, Kit wants to meet her fiancé who is at university in California, and Mimi is planning a singing career and wants to audition for a contest there. The fact that Mimi is with child and has loser written all over her might indicate how successful she will be, but pretty much every plot point is well telegraphed here. Therefore in this road movie it is the law that they must stop off in a bar to sing karaoke and get paid a huge wad of cash for their trouble, all the more unbelievable when you hear the weak rendition of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" that Britney treats us to.
It's called plot foreshadowing that Lucy is a far more confident performer than Mimi, and also that their driver, Ben (Anson Mount), is a musician who happens to be available. Whoever will he end up with? Do you think he'll secure that prized virginity of Lucy? But criticising this kind of thing for being predictable is beside the point, it's not meant to be shaking any preconceptions to their foundations, it's simply meant to put the three girls through the pattern of laugh, cry, sing, laugh, cry, sing, and so forth until the end of the film arrives. Naturally this is going to grate on anyone who isn't predisposed towards Britney, and has the disadvantage these days of presenting her as a wholesome, conservative, level headed girl when nowadays she carries all the baggage of tabloid infamy and possible insanity. So perhaps there's now a nostalgia at work in Crossroads that almost forgives the unwittingly gleeful punishment of its characters. Almost.