CrazySexyCool Isn’t Great, but It Will Make You Watch TLC Videos on YouTube

(MediaQuire) Upon finishing CrazySexyCool, the new biopic about the great ’90s hip-hop/R&B outfit TLC airing on VH1 tonight, I spent an hour or so on YouTube watching the girl group’s videos, many of which had been painstakingly recreated in the film. There are so many: the video for “What About Your Friends,” which opens with a fashion show before “Not!” flashes on screen and T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli appear in self-appointed opposition to uptight models, wearing oversized clothes and goofy hats, a condom taped to Left Eye’s glasses. There’s “Aint 2 Proud 2 Beg,” “Creep,” “Waterfalls,” Left Eye memorably introducing them on MTV News as “on the TLC tip” and clearly explaining how you can sell 10 million records and go brokeCrazySexyCool is a not a particularly well-constructed biopic, hopping from moment to moment like moviemaking was just a matter of checking scenes off a list, but it does everything that Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, the two surviving members of TLC, could ask for: It will absolutely convince you that TLC was amazing. As art,CrazySexyCool is middling; as propaganda it is very effective. I have been singing “No Scrubs” nonstop since watching it, and unlike in 1999, when that song was earworming its way through the brainpans of most Americas, I’m not even mad about it.

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CrazySexyCool tells the story of Watkins, Thomas, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes—cool, sexy, and crazy, respectively—from 1990, just before they signed a record deal, to 2002, when Lopes died in a car accident in Honduras. In the decade plus between, the group sold 65 million records and endured (and created) plenty of drama, from Watkins’ battle with sickle-cell anemia to Lopes’ infamous arson of then-boyfriend Andre Rison’s home, not to mention a very public bankruptcy case and legal fight against a restrictive record deal—events that have all been thoroughly chronicled already, most memorably in a very satisfying installment of Behind the Music.