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Last night, E! ran a two-hour documentary detailing the preparation for Britney Spears' upcoming Las Vegas residency and Britney Jean album. The entirety of I Am Britney Jean ran with its picture slightly elongated, which is weird (Britney's not even going through an overweight period) and at odds with the entire concept of documentary filmmaking. But whatever, I guess. This is E!, a place where the hardest news you're going to get is delivered by Giuliana Rancic. We cannot expect much of anything. See above for a scene in which the stretching is particularly noticeable, and also check out this comparison between stills from the movie that aired and the promo that ran in the days before it:
As far as the content goes, I Am Britney Jean was not particularly raw and candid, but it was well made since it was a World of Wonder (RuPaul's Drag Race, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Dark Roots: The Unauthorized Anna Nicole) production. The weirdest thing that Britney said was that her onstage persona/alter ego is a different person and that it's "seriously bipolar disorder." (Ever since her 2008 meltdown, it's been widely speculated that Britney is bipolar, and here she is kind of joking about it.)
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It was refreshingly honest of Brit to admit, "Personally, I'm really a shy person and I'm particularly not really made for this industry because I am so shy." But at the same time it's like, why are you still doing this then? It would be one thing if she were a singer's singer or a dancer's dancer or if there were some virtuosic, honed craft that her inner artistry compelled her to express despite the unfortunate byproduct of fame. But no, her craft is being an all-around entertainer, a star, and that's how her career was engineered. It's how her life was engineered, and from a very young age, at that. If she is "not really made for this industry," is it any wonder that she freaked out five years ago and hit an SUV with an umbrella, or that she routinely shows up in public and music videos with dead eyes, looking like she wants to crawl out of her skin? Was happiness ever a possibility for Britney Spears? Did anyone ever actually think about that?
She at least seemed more alive and spirited in I Am Britney Jean than she has in years. She was often endearingly goofy. She used big-ish words like "intangibles" and "naiveté," and she also used "fart" as an expletive. She lamented, "Being a perfectionist sucks," and discussed her love of watermelon bubblegum and sex. She seemed kind to her employees and she seems to work very hard to keep the industry that has been organized around her propped up. The artist was present on I Am Britney Jean, but given her comments, you can't help but wonder if she really wanted to be.