Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 13-22 (2007 Video)
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I mean, the characters were hysterical and I wondered where the hell he came up with some of this stuff, but I felt he was just showing the different characters he can play so some producer would notice and start putting him in movies. Honestly, he was just showcasing his talents instead of moving forward with the story. The first chapters were good, and it was a movie that I could watch over and over but this second one felt hollow.
If R. Kelly wants to go out with a bang with this, he should just go with the first characters he had and just tell their story instead of these other characters that didn't need to be in the movie. That's just my opinion and I am rating this kinda because I am an R. Kelly fan through thick and thin and I'm a little bias.
It is convoluted, I'll give it that. After a while, despite knowing who the characters (mostly) were, I didn't even care anymore. Where as in the first dozen chapters there was some continuity to the madness of another "GOTCHA" coming out of a closet or a cabinet or behind a door, this time there's a lot more that's meant to be going on. But it only works in spurts, which are a good few (i.e. just seeing a 'double' Sylvester in his white suit, as if his God character or something), but far in between. I don't mind if it's cheesy or stupid or meant to be wack-a-doodle nuts. For something like this I DO want it to be that way to get all the camp value for a few buck's worth. But if there's no "good" end result, it doesn't click as well. If the first dozen chapters are a finely tuned train wreck, this second set is more like an Amtrak that skids a little on the rails, but stays firmly on its tracks.
Trapped in the Closet is a sort of hip-hopera or urban opera, according to Wikipedia. Written, directed, singing, and starring R. Kelly, it chronicles the bizarre twists and turns of a man named Sylvester after he's caught having a one-night stand. It's nothing short of brilliant.
It would be very easy for this to get very bad. It could take itself seriously and be a joke. It could be a tremendous failure. In fact, people seem to be conflicted. They either love it or hate it. Just go look at the comments, and you'll see for yourself. But I'm on the love it side.
Mostly because it is hilarious. I didn't really go into it expecting gay lovers and midgets, but that's exactly what I got. Set to repetitive background music with strategically-placed instrumentals, it's all about the amazing lyrics. So what if they don't always rhyme? So what if the music isn't that great. It's not about that.
I saw it today in "movie" format, all twenty-two chapters together in an hour-and-a-half movie form. It was pretty good, and that is what I give three and a half stars. I give the fragmented series a four. It is designed to be seen in little bits with a cliffhanger. I saw it first on the internet, and actually, I would recommend that over seeing it all continuously. It's the whole suspense and the feeling like, "Oh my god, I have to see what happens next." It takes you back, in my case, before I was born, to old radio dramas and crazy soap operas and laughs at them.
The series isn't over yet; there are ten more chapters coming out this summer. They'll probably be on IFC, which is where I saw the movie.
And a note, there's quite a bit of violence and homophobia presented, and that's been a problem to some, too. For some reason, if it's in a movie, it's okay, but people expect all series to be like The Andy Griffith Show. Anyway, yeah, they talk about violence. Not too much is shown, but they do talk a lot about domestic violence. And there is homophobia, but there are four queer characters. The homophobia's presented as part of the story. Good lord, people, no need to get so defensive; he didn't have to put any gay people in it. And I know R. Kelly has been accused of horrible things. And that has nothing to do with this series.
One might suspect that if R Kelly had managed to persuade the money men to OK the first series, the unexpectedly half-positive critical response forced their collective, calculating hand to demand a second where there was - artistically speaking - none. Worse than wallpaper.