Picks and Pans Review: Reaching for the Stars
It's a familiar, heart-wrenching tale. Ten zillion attractive, eager young folk show up at a casting call. Hoping against hope they wait while a small, fortunate handful are chosen (not unlike going to a singles' bar on a Friday night). In this two-hour special, the lives of five real-life dancers-actors-singers who become members of a new L.A.-based group, the Girls Rock Club band, are dissected. Using the techniques of cinema vérité, the nosey camera follows the women through the grueling auditions, the euphoric selection process, the explosive rehearsal period and finally onto their chartered bus, where they experience the heaven and hell Of performing across the Midwest. The singers—Tyra Ferrell, Candi Milo, Debra Rogers, Cyndi James-Reese and Hillary Turk—prove an appealing lot, even if they're made to sing unbearably bland mock-rock tunes. The emotional dynamics of the group however are anything but artificial. As the pressures mount their defenses crack like piñatas, raining down tears, fears and ugly accusations. Adding to the pressures are family and personal traumas, including divorce, cancer and the loss of a parent. At two hours the show is overly repetitive. Even so, if you still haven't had enough of the Girls Rock Club (terrible name), you can catch 'em later this evening as they make their debut on The Tonight Show.