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A soapy backstage melodrama originally produced for network broadcast, Double Platinum downplays show biz verisimilitude to turn on the tears. With '60s soul queen Diana Ross and '90s pop princess Brandy sharing production credit as well as billing, this formulaic tearjerker focuses on its stars' dramatic chops more than their musical prowess, a choice that won't deter their respective audiences, even as it disappoints less partisan music fans who might have hoped for a stronger musical component.
Olivia King (Ross) is the former St. Louis housewife who abandoned her family for pop stardom, only to return 18 years later determined to meet, and reconcile with, her daughter, Kayla (Brandy), now nurturing her own footlight fantasies. But when the prodigal mom finally does reveal herself to the bright, feisty teen, Kayla is outraged and then hard-boiled. Olivia's offer to help the undeniably talented girl make industry contacts is accepted, with the bitter caveat that the superstar should abandon any hopes of a true maternal bond with her embittered daughter. The usually imperious Olivia meekly accepts those terms, while the secretly yearning Kayla keeps up her tough-cookie cover, but the plot telegraphs its ultimate destination, even as the tears flow.
Both stars acquit themselves well in the story's stormier clashes, and the emotional tug of the story is well engineered to soak hankies. Less credulous viewers will be hampered by the original songs--when Ross steps on-stage, her regal demeanor and flashy (if occasionally silly) gowns support her supposed status as a legend, but the utterly forgettable, generic songs she mouths deflate that image. That said, viewers less interested in the actual music than the glitzy idea of the two characters may well be content to wallow in the waterworks of a story that could as easily have been titled Divas: The Next Generation. --Sam Sutherland
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