In messaging that seems very tightly controlled by the Michael machine, GM and the filmmakers lead us through his initial success with Wham!, his solo career (which emerged nearly concurrently with his realization that he was, in his words, "a huge poofter"), and his (inevitable to anyone who has ever seen a famous person bio pic) struggles with fame, his record company, and the law.
Media trained nearly to a fault, even Michael's "spontaneous" self-effacement in the film's many interviews seems choreographed. Regardless of our feelings on Michael's calculated stubble, egotism, or collaborations with Elton john (shudder), there's something endearingly compelling about the man, but that charisma was left to stagnate in this doc. The opportunity to paint a deep and probing (shut up) portrait of the challenges of coming out -- and staying out -- in the public eye was squandered.
Sure, the walk down memory lane was a treat, as we recalled various Michael-tinged moments of our personal life (editing our middle school newspaper to "Careless Whisper", going to Derek Drockelman's house to watch the world premiere of the "I Want Your Sex" video, dancing to "Fastlove" at Bullwinkles). And, yes, we went home and blew a ton of dough downloading songs we haven't heard since the junior prom. But "ability to inspire nostalgia" ranks pretty far down on our list of documentary criteria. While we must say that we enjoyed ourselves through most of this film, it certainly evoked one more refrain from our adolescence: "Does Not Work Up To Potential."