Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland – “4 Minutes”

  We start out with Timbaland on a stage somewhere, standing in front of a giant clock display. The clock is supposedly showing us the four minutes that we’ve got left to save the world from… well, it’s never made clear, but it actually appears to be showing us four hours. Unless we’re counting the milliseconds? Why would we count those? Those things only matter in Tom Cruise movies where he has to push an important button right now or Manhattan will be turned into a decaying wasteland, just like the Republican National Convention.

  Odd clock aside, Timbaland is currently invested in making some interesting noises that go along with the ominous opening notes of the song. But more importantly, we get our first images of this creepy triangle-based mass that appears to be eating parts of the set around him. Timbaland doesn’t seem to care, since he’s got the music in him and that’s all that’s important, but we get a close-up of a dusty speaker component that is trembling in fear because he’s further down on the cast list and will probably be the first casualty. (Maybe he should have had a better agent.)

  Brief montage of some gears spinning and cocktails on the verge of being spilled. No idea.

  First image of Madonna, wearing some form-fitting night-night clothes and facing away from us. (I guess we should have purchased the higher-priced concert tickets if we wanted to see more.) Then Justin debuts, again not facing us, wearing basically the same outfit that he has worn since moving on from the Mickey Mouse Club. Interspersed with all the introductions are shots of Timbaland still enjoying the noises that his mouth can make, then we cut to a fancy car rolling towards somewhere.

  Oh look, the car is being pushed by Madonna, now wearing a black outfit that involves parachute pants and a matching puffy blouse that practically scream “1984”. But we can forgive the debatable fashion choice, because you really shouldn’t question couture decisions made by a woman who has thighs capable of repositioning vehicles. (I guess it really does pay off to have a personal trainer who will holler in German and force you to do enough leg lifts that you could raise the Titanic.)

  Okay, I guess Madonna loses interest in impressing us with the number of squat thrusts that she’s apparently done in her day, so she sexily slides off the front of the car onto… a dinner table where a random and sad-looking family is eating leftovers. The family pays no attention to what is actually happening in the real world (do they watch Fox News?), slurping their soup and ignoring the woman on their table who already has more secrets in her parachute pants than they will ever have in their lives.

  Meanwhile, we keep getting quick glimpses of the Triangle Monster munching on everything in its path and not caring what it swallows. I could make a Rush Limbaugh reference, but that would be too easy.

  Madonna marches away from that set where all the lonely people are, and launches into her part of the song. This requires her to wander through a loft apartment where a young couple is preparing for a bath and kissing one another. (No idea, part two.) Cut to Justin in the same apartment, singing to himself in a dirty mirror and admiring his nifty neck-scarf that one would normally wear in an artsy movie where British people talk about nothing and wait for redemption that never comes.

  Cut back to the kissing couple who apparently don’t mind having international superstars show up at unexpected times, and we can see that part of their flesh is missing as they smooch, showing bone and such. This is possibly the least erotic thing I have ever seen, and I’ve been to some very questionable websites. Then we’re back with Madonna somewhere else in the apartment. (Is she in the couple’s bedroom? Not clear, but it’s definitely not a place where she or her staff would ever sleep.)

  Madonna rips off her puffy parachute jacket (my prayers worked!) and possibly straddles the bed, but then we cut to the kissing couple again and they are missing more flesh, so we are now basically watching two of those life-size dissected-body models from high-school biology class sucking face.  With tongues involved. Ugh. This is a world I would not want to save, I don’t care how many minutes we have.

  Then Madonna and Justin meet up and hover around the bed where the Skeletors are procreating, and just as quickly hop out some convenient windows that are nearby. Outside, they find a bunch of cars parked in a haphazard manner, with two guys wearing red plastic doing street moves on top of one of them. This is an additional sign of the apocalypse, so our stars should just keep running, but they don’t. Justin has to get something important out of the trunk of the car where the jacked-up Oompa Loompas are gyrating. (Is it his recording contract? Yeah, probably should grab that.)

  Madonna, on an agenda of her own, as she always is, decides that she needs to jump in and out of some of the cars in a sexy but unclear manner. Not to be outdone, Justin decides to run across the top of the cars using the same mysterious motivation. They manage to meet up in the front seat of one of the cars, where Madonna briefly flirts with Justin, whispering in his ear and either hinting at a future hook-up  or promising that she will one day make a movie that doesn’t require serious editing before it can be released.

  The frolicking with the cars continues for some time, with both of them proving athletic prowess and the ability to strike poses right on the beat, but without anyone explaining the critical bit about what needs to be done to save the world or at least make the two dudes stop dancing on the one car. Those guys really need to find a better purpose in life, because they are just a few online votes away from surpassing The Skeletors as Most Invaluable Players.

  Hold up, now Madonna and Justin have made their way (via modern technology) to a supermarket of some kind. We have an extended scene with the two of them alternately flirting with or threatening the various products lining the shelves of the aisles, nuzzling up to the granola and slapping the canned tuna. They eventually reach the front of the store, where each of them jumps on a conveyor belt at the checkout counters so they can dance while essentially running on a treadmill. (Is it always about physical competitions with Madonna? Honey, can’t you prove your supremacy with a non-strenuous card game or maybe a nice round of Jeopardy?)

  Happily, they both give up with whatever they were trying to accomplish in the checkout lanes at Wal-Mart, and they both suddenly appear on that stage with the clock that I don’t understand. (Timbaland is gone, so he’s probably off at yet another awards show.) Madonna is back in her naughty night-night ensemble, and Justin is back in the outfit that he’s never changed since Mickey.) They are both breaking out some serious dance moves here, but it seems a bit odd that they are rarely in the same shot. Do I smell a contractual clause of some kind? (“I want 36 flavors of vodka in my dressing room, 24 varieties of massage therapists, and only 12 moments when I am in the same room as my co-star.”)

  We have some quick scenes here and there of someone wearing aggressive high-heels and stomping around an office environment. We’ll just assume it’s not Justin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if it’s really him.

  Wait, now Madonna has just stormed into a public bathroom. She’s back in part of her black outfit, so I’m not sure where this fits in the space-time continuum. And now she’s looking in the mirror and Justin is staring back at her. They do some mess where it appears that they exchange clothing but they really don’t, with each of them throwing the unwanted garments off toward the less-popular toilet stalls. Then they tromp out of the restroom without even bothering to leave a tip for the attendant who is probably hiding in a corner, weeping and wishing that s/he had paid attention to their mother  when she proclaimed “do your homework or you’ll have to listen to people pee for the rest of your life.”

  Okay, NOW we have Madonna and Justin on the same stage at the same time, and they seem to be involved in yet another dance-off. Justin is very good with his street poses and arm-flipping, but he’s up against Madonna, who was already artfully thrusting her crotch when Justin was still trying to figure out which end of his baby bottle offered the most promise. Still, they’re both very energetic  and each manages to hold their own, despite Justin’s insistence that he keep wearing that scarf from the British play where nothing actually happens.

  As we roll to a close, Madge and Just-In start ripping parts of their couture off of each other. In most diva camps, this would result in a drive-by shooting, but they both handle the ripping and flinging in a professional manner. Then Timbaland arrives back from his awards show just long enough to holla “breakdown” on the soundtrack, which sends M and J into overdrive.  They amp up the dance moves, trying once again to prove who has the most flexible whatever while Timbaland makes noises off to the side.  The “oh yeah, we almost forgot about that” Triangle Monster arrives onset and starts chewing the scenery, as well as our illustrious co-stars, causing flesh to disappear without leaving a forwarding address.

  Our last image is of Justin, with an exposed rib cage, leaning in to kiss Madonna, who has an exposed jaw. Just like Romeo and Juliet. Only completely not…

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